New York Sets Sports Betting Record

Fans of Eli Manning of the New York Giants. Elsa/Getty Images/AFP

New York was expected to be a fertile ground for online sportsbook operators but it has surpassed all expectations after only a month in business. A record-setting $1.6 billion in legal sports betting wagers were placed in the month of January, shattering the previous record of $1.3 billion set by its neighbor, New Jersey, back in October. 

Bonuses Matter 

Generous bonuses were there for the taking if you were a first-time customer and decided to sign up at any of New York’s licensed online sportsbooks. Caesars New York was the most aggressive in offering a $300 bonus just for registering and up to a whopping $3000 in matching a customer’s initial deposit.  

Getting early adopters signed up was considered critical in the rabid competition between the licensed New York sportsbooks. The bonuses were among the best offered but the New York market was considered a golden opportunity for operators to spend in the short term in order to make money in the long term.  

But one such operator has decided to postpone its launch instead of buying its customers off with outrageous promotions and bonuses. Bally’s Chairman Soo Kim is deliberately delaying the Bally Bet mobile sportsbook until April, missing out on the two most popular sports betting events in the nation, the Super Bowl and college basketball’s national tournament, March Madness.  

Kim said, “Oh yeah, we’re OK with that. I think that look, we have a longer-term plan and I think part of this is why maybe our plan isn’t fully being grasped by the public markets. The public markets tend to be very short-term-minded, what’s going to happen in the next earnings, what’s going to happen at the next, you know. 

“But we think that actually, the current version of sports betting is not a great business. It’s a fine business, it’s not a great business. We think that there will be a wave of consolidation that will rationalize promotions. But more importantly, I think people will stop competing with just free money but people will start competing with product.” 

New York Setting Records Already 

Eventually, the New York market will stabilize but even when it does it will be one of the most lucrative sports betting markets in the country. Although California has yet to adopt sports betting within its borders, it will likely become the new record-holder once it does due to its status as the most populated state in the union. The Golden State has nearly double the number of people than New York but right now the Empire State is the reigning king of sportsbooks’ betting handles. 

Eric Ramsey, market analyst lead for sports wagering data company PlayUSA Network, said, “Some states have taken months, even years, to get up to a running pace and New York seems to have hit the ground at full gallop. There’s not a question: New York is already the largest sports betting state in the country.” 

Among the licensed operators that were approved to launch in New York in January were, Caesars Sportsbook, DraftKings, and FanDuel. Others were awaiting regulatory clearance but have all been subsequently approved to go live, including BetMGM and PointsBet.

Chief Marketing Officer Kyle Christensen of PointsBet, added, “We were confident that New York state would offer a huge opportunity to reach an active and engaged segment of bettors. We saw the patterns and we knew the appetite was there. The numbers have been exciting to watch.”