The New York State Gaming Commission (NYGC) has missed the June 1 deadline to launch the bidding period for mobile sportsbooks in New York. The commission had nearly two and a half months to release its Request for Applications (RFA) on mobile sports betting, which Gov. Andrew Cuomo had approved as part of the fiscal 2022 budget into law in mid-April.
According to an informed source, the release of the RFA could be delayed by two weeks. However, a commission spokesperson did not comment on it when asked to give an official version.
The unexpected delay shocked many as things appeared to be on track till Thursday morning as an NYGC spokesperson told a news outlet the process was on schedule. But the day passed without any update, leaving bidders wondering when the RFA will be released.
What Did the Commission Actually Miss?
The commission was supposed to launch a hotly contested bidding process in which the regulatory body will award contracts to a minimum of two platform providers – a duopolistic arrangement – to partner with the state to run online sports betting in the Empire State.
July 1 has been explicitly mentioned for months since the critic-turned-supporter governor approved online sports betting in the fourth-largest state of the country.
The Democratic governor believes New York state can emerge as the nation’s largest market for digital sports betting, which (according to his office) could bring the state $500 million annually in tax revenue.
Currently, New Jersey is the nation’s largest sports betting market, attracting a huge number of bets from New Yorkers.
Why Did the Bidding Delay?
Everyone with interest and knowledge with New York sports betting is trying to figure it out; no one has found a clear answer. Multiple stakeholders and sportsbook representatives said they had not expected any delay, while some complained lack of communication with the regulators throughout the waiting period.
When Sen. Joe Addabbo Jr. was asked about a delay, the usually-optimistic fellow answered Thursday:
“Until midnight, I’ll remain optimistic.”
But his optimism evaporated with the next morning when he said Friday morning:
“Well, the fact that New York State couldn’t meet its initial online sports betting deadline to take a positive step towards recognizing additional educational and anti-addiction funding is disappointing.”
However, Addabbo, a key force behind this mobile sports betting legislation, said he’s confident that in the end, “New York will have a premier… mobile sports betting product and will allow New Yorkers to effectively compete in the market.”
What Do We Expect Now?
Despite the desperate confidence expressed by Addabbo, the missed deadline means the New York mobile sports betting may not come by the Super Bowl as he had initially hoped.
The bidding process was to open for only 30 days after which the commission was supposed to pick winners in 150 days. If the bidding launched as scheduled, late December would be the realistic timing for having the winners of the bids.
Though winning bids could be announced earlier, the delay does not reflect an optimistic scenario.
According to state law, each platform provider shall pay the state a one-time flat fee of $25 million. The providers must also pay a fee of $5 million annually to the licensed gaming facility used to house the online betting server for facilitating the digital sports wagers.
According to the commission’s memo, the RFA is open to all qualified platform providers and operators. However, awards will be made to the highest-scoring applicants in both categories.
Currently, four Upstate casinos accept legal sports bets on a retail-only basis.