Online sports betting in New York is here. Any New Yorker with a computer, phone or other device can legally wager on sports from the comfort of their home (or coffee shop or bar) in the state beginning Saturday, January 8th at 9:00 A.M.
Four select operators are expected to be up and running at that time with more expected to join in the coming days.
Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992
PASPA, the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992, essentially banned wagering of sports in the United States with a few notable exceptions. The most notable of which was the state of Nevada where sportsbooks thrived as a de facto monopoly on the industry in the United States for nearly the next 30 years.
However, PASPA was overturned by the Supreme Court in 2018 and states were allowed to decide on their own whether or not to permit sports betting. The flood gates were opened and many states jumped at the opportunity to permit legal sports betting. This included two neighbors of New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, who quickly had not only in person wagering opened but also the much more popular mobile sports betting.
New York Falls Behind
Not diving too much into the details but a handful of New York casinos were permitted to offer in person wagering starting in 2019. This was but a small piece of the overall pie and only tiny fraction of the potential revenue sports betting could generate in the state. The much bigger piece, online sports betting in New York, had the overall support of the State Legislature but faced the fierce opposition of then Governor Andrew Cuomo.
Why was Cuomo so opposed in the beginning? There are official reasons like being concerned about the legality of mobile sports betting without an amendment to the state constitution and unofficial reasons that I won’t get into. But for whatever reason the former Governor changed his mind in January of 2021 and at his State of the State address announced his official support for online sports betting in New York.
Once the former Governor announced his support the State Legislature got to work and in breakneck speed for the state hammered out the details in a year. They even beat the target date of the Super Bowl in 2022 to have online sports betting in New York up n running.
Mobile Sports Betting Details
Before getting into how New Yorkers can bet online today it is important to go over some of the details the State Legislature hammered out as it pertains to online sports betting in New York.
The most important detail is that state will tax operators 51% of the final revenue from mobile sports betting. This is a massive tax rate for the operators to incur and also should be noted the highest amongst states that offer mobile sports betting. Neighboring states Pennsylvania and New Jersey tax operators at a fraction of the rate that will be seen in New York.
This will clearly have an impact on the bottom line of the operators. 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 very eager to get into the market even having to pay such an enormous tax on revenues. My best guess is that they hope that at some point this tax rate will get adjusted to a number closer to what we see in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
The tax rate will also have a trickle down impact on consumers who dig online sports betting. Since there were nine licenses granted there will be some competition which is of course a good thing for consumers. But the operators have to cut back somewhere and expect one area to be in the promotions they offer to consumers to entice them to use their sportsbook.
For example two operators, DraftKings and FanDuel, have already announced initial promotional offers to New Yorkers of $100 in free bets (please see the sites for more details as of course there is plenty of fine print here). This is drastically lower than say what they were offering new customers in New Jersey and Pennsylvania when the mobile sports betting launched in those states.
Where Can I Wager On January 8th
Yes, the big question. Keep in mind that this is very fluid and subject to change. But it appears there will be four operators where people can enjoy online sports betting in New York starting January 8th at 9:00 A.M.:
There are five others that are approved in the state. However, they are not expected to be operational come January 8th.
I am not going to type 100,000 words on why but the Cliff Notes version is they essentially don’t have servers physically located in the state.
Expect there to be full offerings from the initial four operators at launch. This would mean that what’s available to wager on in New Jersey and Pennsylvania should also be available in New York. Props, parlays, teasers, etc. Get ready for it all.
One other thing is worth noting if looking to bet on January 8th. In the state of New York we cannot wager on college teams who are located in the state of New York. For example, Syracuse is scheduled to play Wake Forest in college basketball on January 8th. This game cannot be wagered on in New York (but you can make a trip to say Pennsylvania or New Jersey if you so badly want to bet this game).
Important Things To Keep in Mind
On January 9th, I am going to get set up with accounts at all operators that are functioning that day. Is it for the promotions? Well not really but whatever they give me is icing on the cake. The reason being is that some books set different betting lines than others. I want to shop around and get the best line for the bet that I plan 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 in which I don’t wager more than 2% of my bankroll on a given day. This would mean that if I have $1000 in my sports wagering account I wouldn’t wager more than $20 in a given day. I bet for fun and not to, say, get a chunk so I'll be able to pay my mortgage.
How Does This Impact Boxing
The more states that offer legal sports betting and more that offer online sports betting can only be seen as a positive for boxing. Why? Well, having a little skin in the game always makes things more interesting. I was surprised last Saturday at how many people reached out to me for wagering thoughts on the Ortiz-Martin PPV card.
In retrospect I shouldn’t have been, as the event was the only combat sports game in town that night and, well, there were not a whole lot of other sports offerings in that time slot. People want to something to bet on even if it is a mediocre PPV boxing event.
New York has more than 20,000,000 people and is a very large market. So there is potential for this news to be at least a small boost for the sport. Over time the more states that come on board the more interest could be generated for boxing.