Online sports betting in New York is here. Any New Yorker with a computer, phone or other device can legally place sports bets from the comfort of their home (or a coffee shop or bar) beginning at 9:00 am on Saturday, January 8th
Four select operators are expected to be operational at this point, with more expected in the coming days.
Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act 1992
PASPA, the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992, essentially banned sports betting in the United States with a few notable exceptions. The most notable of these was the state of Nevada, where sports betting thrived for almost the next 30 years as the industry’s de facto monopoly in the United States.
However, PASPA was overturned by the Supreme Court in 2018 and states were free to choose whether or not to allow sports betting. The floodgates opened and many states took the opportunity to allow legal sports betting. This included two neighbors of New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, who quickly opened up not only in-person betting but also the much more popular mobile sportsbook.
New York falls behind
Not to go into too much detail, but a handful of New York City casinos were allowed to offer in-person betting as of 2019. This was just a small slice of the overall pie and a tiny fraction of the potential revenue that sports betting could generate in the state. The much larger piece, online sports betting in New York, had the general support of the state legislature but faced stiff opposition from then-Governor Andrew Cuomo.
Why was Cuomo so against it in the beginning? There are official reasons like concern about the legality of mobile sports betting without changing the state constitution and unofficial reasons I won’t go into. But for whatever reason, in January 2021, the former governor changed his mind and announced his official support for online sports betting in New York in his State of the State address.
After the former governor announced his support, the state legislature went to work, hammering out the details for the state in a year at breakneck speed. They even surpassed the Super Bowl target date of 2022 to have online sports betting going in New York.
Mobile sports betting details
Before we delve into how New Yorkers can bet online today, it’s important to go through some of the details that lawmakers have worked out regarding online sports betting in New York.
The most important detail is that the state will tax the operators 51% of the final revenue from mobile sports betting. This is a huge tax rate for operators and should also be considered the highest among states that offer mobile sports betting. Neighboring states of Pennsylvania and New Jersey tax operators at a fraction of the rate seen in New York.
This will clearly affect the operators bottom line. Can they even be profitable with such a high tax rate?
We don’t know, but New York has such a large population that operators still seemed keen to enter the market despite having to pay such a huge tax on revenue. My best guess is that they hope to eventually adjust that tax rate to a number closer to what we’re seeing in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
The tax rate will also affect consumers who like online sports betting. Since nine licenses have been granted, there will be some competition, which is of course good for consumers. But operators have to cut corners somewhere and expect that one area is in the promotions they offer consumers to entice them to take up their sportsbook.
For example two operators, DraftKings and fan duel, have already announced initial promotional offers for New Yorkers of $100 in free bets (check their websites for more details as there is of course a lot of fine print). This is drastically lower than what they were offering to new customers in New Jersey and Pennsylvania when mobile sportsbooks were introduced in those states.
Where can I bet on January 8th?
Yes, the big question. Note that this is very fluid and subject to change. But it seems that there will be four operators where people can enjoy online sports betting from January 8th at 9:00 am in New York:
There are five others licensed in the state. However, they are not expected to go live on January 8th.
I’m not going to write 100,000 words on why, but the Cliff Notes version is that they essentially don’t have any servers physically located in the state.
Resorts World Sportsbook
PointsBet sports betting
Bally Bet Sportsbook
Expect there to be full offers from the first four operators at launch. This would mean that what is available for betting in New Jersey and Pennsylvania should also be available in New York. Props, parlays, teasers, etc. Get ready for anything.
Another thing worth mentioning if you want to bet on January 8th. In New York State we cannot bet on college teams that are located in New York State. For example, Syracuse plays Wake Forest in college basketball on January 8th. This game cannot be bet on in New York (but you can travel to Pennsylvania or New Jersey if you really want to bet on this game).
Important things to consider
On January 9th I will set up accounts with all operators that work on that day. Is it for the promotions? Well, not really, but whatever they give me is the icing on the cake. The reason for this is that some books set different betting lines than others. I want to look around and find the best line for the bet I’m about to make and I would urge others to do the same.
This is also a good time to mention the importance of bankroll management. I maintain a very tight and conservative style of betting no more than 2% of my bankroll on any given day. That would mean that if I had $1000 in my sports betting account, I wouldn’t bet more than $20 on any given day. I bet for fun, not to get, say, a chunk so I can pay my mortgage.
How does this affect boxing?
The more states offering legal sports betting and more offering online sports betting can only be seen as positive for the sport of boxing. Why? Well, having a little skin in it always makes things more interesting. I was surprised last Saturday at how many people reached out to me with bet thoughts on this Ortiz Martin PPV Map.
In hindsight, I shouldn’t have been as that night’s event was the only martial arts game in town and, well, there weren’t many other sporting events in that time slot. People want something to bet on, even if it’s a mediocre PPV boxing event.
new York has more than 20,000,000 people and is a very big market. So there’s potential for this news to give at least a small boost to the sport. Over time, as more states come on board, more interest in boxing could be generated.