New York Sports Betting Applications: Big Names Dominate Bids

New York Sports Betting Applications: Big Names Dominate Bids article feature image
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John Smith/VIEWpress. Pictured: Madison Square Garden.

The nation’s top sportsbooks have teamed together for one of the coveted New York online sports betting licenses, according to a document released by state officials Monday night.

These conjoined bids — instead of separate, competing proposals — will likely favor America’s more established companies and could see as many as nine customer-facing brands enter the market.

Bids

FanDuel, DraftKings, BetMGM and Bally Bet

This would presumably be the odds-on favorite, as FanDuel, DraftKings and BetMGM are the national market share leaders. Bally Bet has expanded aggressively with retail and online expansions and regional sports television network deals.

Caesars, Resorts World, PointsBet, BetRivers, and WynnBet

This bid brings together most of the “second tier” of national brands. Caesars, which recently integrated the former William Hill sportsbooks and is spending more than a billion dollars on player acquisition in the coming years, also has an affiliation with Turning Stone Resort and the Oneida Nation; tribal partners are awarded extra “points” in the bid selection process

Penn National (Barstool Sportsbook) and Fanatics Sportsbook

Two companies that have gone against the grain in the competitive U.S. market team up for what, at the very least, would be an intriguing bid. Penn National is steadily growing its sports betting footprint through the Barstool Sports media brand and Fanatics, the online sports merchandise retailer, is set to launch its sportsbook as early as next year.

bet365

A European gaming giant, bet365 has waded slowly in the American sports betting market, but it has an online presence in New Jersey and advertises heavily in New York sports team venues, including Yankee Stadium. Notably, the Yankees have reportedly teamed up with the Buffalo Bills, Buffalo Sabres, New York City FC and the YES Network on the FanDuel/DraftKIngs/BetMGM bid.

theScore

The Canadian sports app turned sportsbook was recently acquired by Penn National. It was not apparent as of Monday night if the bid would be altered to fit with Penn’s other bid or will continue to stand alone.

FOX Bet

Available in four states, FOX Bet has looked to harness its affiliation with its flagship media company to stand out in the market. FOX has filed a lawsuit over the FOX Bet ownership stake of Flutter Entertainment, which also owns FanDuel.

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Next Steps

The New York State Gaming Commission will now begin a lengthy review process to determine the winning bids. By law, the NYSGC must license two “platform providers.”

The law also requires four customer-facing brands, commonly called “skins,” between the winning platform providers. The bidding rules also allow a single bid with four or more “skins” to potentially be divided into two separate platform providers licenses.

In a hypothetical scenario, FanDuel and Bally’s could be one Platform provider and BetMGM and DraftKings could be the other.  It wasn’t clear at Monday’s bid list release if or how any company had gone about doing such a plan.

It also remains to be seen how bids from a single company such as bet365, FOX Bet or theScore would meet that requirement.

The request for application released earlier this summer effectively requires all bidders to guarantee a minimum 50% tax on gross gaming revenue, the highest rate of any competitive state market in the country. Bidders are awarded additional consideration for each percentage point they submit to above 50%; for example, a 55% bid would be looked at more favorably than a 51% bid.

The bidding structure, in essence, places tax rates as the most critical differentiating factor. The submitted tax rates were not released publicly with the initial bid list Monday evening.

A decision is expected in December 2021 with a target launch ahead of Super Bowl LVI in February 2022.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who pushed for the bid model over objections from a more open structure favored by New York lawmakers, has estimated online sports betting will generate $500 million in taxes annually at market maturity.

New York has a handful of retail sportsbooks at upstate commercial and tribal casinos. Online sports betting is expected to make up 90% or more of handle in New York, the nation’s fourth-most populated state.

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