For New Yorkers who have been traveling into Connecticut, New Jersey, and/or Pennsylvania to place legal bets on sporting events online there, your days of having to do so are numbered. Several of the same sportsbooks you’ve been wagering with in those states will soon start taking part in a legal online version of New York sports betting.
The state has licensed nine operators and has given the go-ahead to four of them on Saturday, Jan. 8. For that reason, this will be the first round of NFL playoffs with legal mobile sportsbooks available in the Empire State.
The other five operators still have work to do in order to make that a reality. What exactly that work looks like and what bettors should know so they can be ready to put down their bets when the time comes is part of the vital information available.
When does legal online New York sports betting begin?
If by starting you mean when will licensees actually start taking bets, that will commence at 9 a.m. ET on Saturday, Jan 8. However, not all nine licensed operators will go live at that time. Only these four have gotten the green light from regulators:
The big motivating factor is that the state didn’t want to miss out on the NFL playoffs and Super Bowl LVI. Those games produce some of the largest amounts in terms of dollars wagered each year, so it was natural that they wanted to get mobile betting up and running within the next two months.
Not having the platforms live in time would have meant missing out on a good chunk of tax revenue. The same goes for the sportsbooks. So, how close is the process to that completion and what are the remaining steps for the other five licensees?
What’s going on with the rollout process?
The good news is that to date, regulators are actually ahead of schedule. The law gave them until Dec. 6 to announce their picks for licenses. They did that on Nov. 8. So, what remains? Among other things, the tasks still ahead or in progress are:
- Licensees negotiating server hosting deals with commercial casinos in NY
- Installing those servers and testing the systems
- Regulators’ inspections of systems
- Finalizing and implementing payment processing systems
Once that’s all done, each licensee can, in theory, launch their platforms and start taking bets. As there’s no guarantee that the remaining five sportsbooks will launch simultaneously, it’s important to know which operators to look for. That’s part of what we already know for sure.
Which online sportsbooks are coming to NY?
Early last month, the NY State Gaming Commission started spreading the news. They gave platform provider licenses to two bids which between them will give bettors in NY the choice of nine operators. Those brands are:
The primary task for those operators now is to get their apps and websites into compliance with the regulations and laws in NY. It’s uncertain how long that will take. Some might be able to do it faster than others.
Bettors who have wagered in CT, NJ, or PA might recognize these brands. If you have active accounts with the same sportsbooks from wagering in those states, you’re already ahead of the game in NY. You can use your existing account to bet in NY.
That doesn’t mean the products will necessarily be identical to their counterparts in those states, though. In fact, there’s a good chance that you might not see the same odds and markets across state lines.
Unique elements of the NY online sports betting system
For most bettors, these twists will come down to college sports and revenue sharing. The regulations and interpretation of the rules will have a lot to do with how competitive NY sportsbooks are.
The rule on college sports betting in NY is pretty straightforward. It’s also identical to the rule on the same in Washington, DC. Legal online sportsbooks in NY cannot accept bets on college sporting events that either involve in-state teams or take place within the state’s borders.
So that means no betting on Syracuse basketball or football. Additionally, college games that take place at Barclays Center, Bills Stadium, or Madison Square Garden would be off-limits as well regardless of which teams are involved.
It gets a bit more complicated with the revenue share and how that might affect the product. When the NYSGC accepted the bids, the prevailing tax rate came to 51%. That’s by far the highest tax rate that sportsbooks will pay in the nation.
At issue right now is whether sportsbooks will be able to claim promotional credits against their taxable revenue. Currently, the rules do not allow for that. If that stands, sportsbooks might decrease the frequency or value of promotions they give out to customers. Another possibility is that books might add extra vig into the odds to account for the higher tax rate.
Again, there’s no guarantee any of that will happen. Regulators could still adjust the rate or the prohibition on claiming promotional credit. Other states allow licensees to do that to varying extents.
Will anything change with retail sports betting in NY?
As it stands right now, no. The various commercial and tribal casinos currently offering in-person wagering will continue to do so under their separate licenses. Addabbo has a bill in the state legislature which could expand retail wagering options, but it’s early in that process.
Barring the enactment of Addabbo’s bill or another like it, the next expansion of retail wagering in NY could come in a few years. In 2023, the NYSGC has leave to issue more casino licenses, specifically for downstate facilities.
When those new casinos open, they will have the option to offer in-person betting just like their upstate counterparts. Currently, the timeline for such facilities to open looks like 2025.
What is the legal age to bet on sports online in NY?
State law says you must be at least 21 years of age to bet on sports either in person or online. The same also mandates that bettors who choose to wager online must be within the state’s borders when they do so.
How to register for New York sports betting online
Although each sportsbook will have its own app and operate independently of the other eight, the registration process at each will be quite similar. That’s because much of the protocol is mandated by the state and not the sportsbook.
Regardless, the process will be easy and free. To increase the convenience, you’ll be able to complete the entire thing right within each operator’s app. The app should walk you right through that process.
Some operators might even offer you an incentive like some free site credit for you to use when the app starts taking bets in exchange for your early registration. In other states, those incentives have been worth as much as $150.
To complete the process, you’ll just need to provide the sportsbook with some information. This is so it can comply with all the appropriate regulations and statutes. The data includes your:
- Date of birth
- Email address
- Last four digits of your Social Security Number
- Legal name
- Mailing address
- Phone number
At that point, you’ll be ready to go. When launch day comes, you can make a deposit and start placing your bets. There might be more promos available as that date gets closer, but offers have not been announced yet. As of right now, this is the only NY gambling expansion that is for certain coming.
What about online casino and online poker in New York?
Both of those gambling products remain illegal in NY. All three of the aforementioned border states offer online casino products, though, and online poker apps are available in both NJ and PA.
There has been essentially no discussion in Albany about expanding legal online gambling to include either NY online poker or online casinos. Perhaps, as online sports betting matures in the state, legislators will look to take the next steps.
Until then, legislators and regulators are busy getting mobile sports wagering started in the Empire State. When the day comes, it will change the landscape of gambling in NY forever.