No, New York doesn't allow for mobile sports betting yet. Here's when it could start
ALBANY - The NFL season is back. Just not mobile sports betting in New York.
After being approved in April as part of the state budget, mobile sports betting is still months away from reality in New York as regulators weigh bids from six potential providers and hope to have the system up and running early next year.
The goal is to have bets available online in time for the Super Bowl, the biggest sports gambling day of the year. It is on Feb. 13.
"I still remain optimistic that if not by the end of the year, by the beginning of next year, that we have our operators and providers and we’re taking our first bets — and certainly by the Super Bowl," said Senate Racing Committee chairman Joseph Addabbo, D-Queens.
Currently, sports betting is only legal in New York on site at four upstate casinos located in the Catskills, Albany area, Finger Lakes and Southern Tier.
The state last month released a list of the six providers seeking to partner with at least four operators, likely existing casinos and gambling halls in New York, to offer sports betting across the state.
They include some of the largest gambling companies in the nation, including a bid from sports apparel company Fanatics that includes Jay-Z as a partner.
The state Gaming Commission's request for applications said it will not select the winning bids until at least Dec. 6. Then it would be unclear how long it would take for New Yorkers to be able to legally bet on their phones through the state-run system.
"The State Legislature established a timeframe for the competitive bidding process of licenses for mobile sports wagering, requiring selection — to the extent practicable — no later than 150 days after receipt of applications," Gaming Commission spokesman Brad Maione said.
"The Commission fully anticipates being within the deadline established by law."
Mobile sports betting has been slow developing as efforts to legalize it stalled for years in the state Legislature and with ex-Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who was initially leery to move forward by claiming it might have violated the state constitution.
But when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, the sides recognized the need for the additional revenue, which Cuomo's office estimated could bring in $500 million a year by the time mobile sports betting is fully operational.
The operators would have among the highest taxes in the nation, at about 50%, but New York represents the largest untapped mobile sports betting market in the U.S.
New York's eventual entry comes as legal sports betting continues to hit revenue records.
Twenty-three states and the District of Columbia have legalized sports betting.
More than 45 million Americans said they plan to bet on the NFL season this year, up 36% from last year according to the American Gaming Association, the industry's trade group.
And New York has been losing out to neighboring states.
Addabbo said he's hopeful new Gov. Kathy Hochul, who succeeded Cuomo when he resigned last month amid scandal, will take a new look at the state's gambling landscape, which includes 20 casinos and racetracks with video-lottery terminals.
He and other gambling interests are hopeful the state will move forward soon with allowing three new downstate casinos, as well as develop a broader portfolio of mobile betting options.
"We’re not maximizing our potential in a very competitive environment," he said.
Joseph Spector is the Government and Politics Editor for the USA TODAY Network's Atlantic Group, overseeing coverage in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland and Delaware. He can be reached at JSPECTOR@Gannett.com or followed on Twitter: @GannettAlbany
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