New York Online Sports Betting Could Begin in Mid-January 

The Statue of Liberty is seen next to the Empire State Building. Angela Weiss/ AFP

New York’s legal online sports wagering industry should get underway in the second or third week of January, according to a prominent lawmaker. 

Sen. Joseph P. Addabbo Jr., the leading proponent of sports betting in the Empire State, told ESNY that it could begin in time for the NFL playoffs. 

“I’m still optimistic, and it’s very credible that we can start before the NFL playoff season,” said the Senator. “In my opinion, I think we can start in the second or third week of January, which is great because it will allow us to work out all the glitches and kinks before the Super Bowl rush.” 

The Wild Card Round is set to take place on January 15-17, followed by the Divisional Round on January 22-23. Online sportsbooks will hope to be up-and-running in time for the divisional games at the very least. 

Clawing Bettors Back from New Jersey 

In-person wagering at retail casinos in New York has been legal since 2019. However, they are located upstate, and it is inconvenient for sports fans in New York City to visit them. For that reason, most New Yorkers head over the border to place bets in New Jersey via their mobile devices. 

That has helped New Jersey become the number one sports betting market in the country. In November, New Jersey became the first state to surpass $100 million in monthly sports wagering revenue

Garden State operators handled $1.26 billion worth of bets during November, which was just shy of the record of $1.3 billion set the previous month. Sen. Addabbo Jr. has previously estimated that at least a quarter of bets placed in New Jersey come from New Yorkers. 

New York could quickly overtake New Jersey as the largest sports betting market in the country when the legal industry begins, but the launch will come at a reasonably quiet time, with the NFL winding down and the MLB season still several months away. 

Nine Operators Set to Launch in New York 

New York received six bids for sports betting licenses. If lawmakers had accepted all six, there would have been a 35% tax rate. However, only two bids were successful. 

The first was a so-called super bid featuring DraftKings, BetMGM, and FanDuel. The second successful bid also included multiple operators – Caesars Sportsbook, PointsBet, Rush Street Interactive – which owns BetRivers. Bet365 and several other operators were unsuccessful. 

It means New Yorkers will have some sportsbooks to choose from. It also means the tax rate will be around 51% on gross revenue. Operators will not be able to deduct promotional spend before paying that tax, so it will be difficult for them to earn a profit, as they must also pay $25 million licensing fees. 

They may therefore need to rein in their promotional spending, although New Yorkers should still expect some appealing bonuses in the opening weeks, as leading sportsbooks such as DraftKings, FanDuel, BetMGM, and Caesars vie for supremacy. 

New Yorkers will be able to bet on professional sports, along with college games that take place outside of the state and do not feature teams based in the state. 

Sen. Addabbo Jr. said that most of the successful applicants will be ready to launch their online sports betting apps on the first date permitted, but he warned that some may not go live on day one.