PlayUSA Rewind: Mobile Sports Betting Talks Reignited In New York

Written By Nicholaus Garcia on January 13, 2021 - Last Updated on May 20, 2021

A new week, a new set of gambling industry stories to bite into.

This week, we have more chatter about NY sports betting apps, the anticipated launch of sports betting in Virginia, and a brief outlook on the 2021 gaming industry.

On the rewind:

New York mobile sports betting resurfaces again

It’s another year, which means New York will make another attempt at passing a mobile sports betting bill. Again, the efforts rest on the shoulders of Sen. Joe Addabbo and Assemblyman Gary Pretlow. Each lawmaker has submitted their own bill, S 1183 (Addabbo) and A 1257 (Pretlow). Both bills are almost identical to the 2019-20 versions.

On top of this, Gov. Andrew Cuomo once again said he would make mobile sports betting part of his 2021 policy proposal for the state. However, Cumo has appeared to back the state lottery as the entity to run the operation.

This is a dance that seems to happen every year. Does this year’s fight have legs to stand on? I suppose we will see, but remember, the coronavirus pandemic wasn’t a factor in years past, excluding 2020 – but the pandemic’s full impact and longevity weren’t understood then. Now, Cuomo is facing Titanic-sized budget shortfalls caused by the pandemic — and legalizing sports betting would be a quick way to start filling those deficits.

The takeaway: Judging by some of the language in the submitted bills (royalty fee, official league data, $12 million licensing fee) it’s already an uphill climb. Not to mention, Cuomo said he’s not in the business of making casinos money. So why not make the fight harder, right?

Keeping tabs on Virginia sports betting

Much like Michigan, sports betting in the Commonwealth could begin in the next few weeks.

Kevin Hall, executive director of the Virginia Lottery, told WTKR, the state sports betting program is nearing completion.

“Once we begin to issue the first of the licenses — once the sportsbooks feel like they’re ready — they can go live,” he said.

Virginia sports betting will take cues from Tennessee which debuted as the first mobile-only sports betting state. This is of course until casinos are built in five select cities around the Commonwealth.

The takeaway: This is big news for Virginia which is anticipating a market value of $400 million in 2021. To the North, the state is surrounded by competition. States like West Virginia, New Jersey and Pennsylvania have well-established markets already. But to the South and East, the state hopes to capitalize on traffic from Kentucky and the Carolinas.

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Experts eye boom for US gambling market

Our last story deals with the potential growth of the US sports betting and US online casino markets.

According to Shaun Kelly, an analyst for Bank of America, the “sports betting and iGaming markets could grow +70% in 2021.”

When we are set to welcome 2022, Kelly anticipates 27 states will have some version of sports betting. In addition to this, he also predicts a steady recovery of the US casino industry in the second half of 2021.

The takeaway: Both of these predictions have some weight to them. On the casino side of things, once a COVID vaccine is distributed to enough states, the tourism and hospitality industries will certainly bounce back. While it’s still unknown how many states will launch sports betting, we do know at least four new states (Ohio, Massachusetts, Georgia and Connecticut) are having serious discussions. Online casinos and online poker experienced a boom in 2020 when most US citizens were in quarantine, so it’s not a stretch to say their growth could continue.

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Nicholaus Garcia Avatar
Written by
Nicholaus Garcia

Nick has had stints in Chicago and Washington, D.C., writing about politics, financial markets, and sports betting. He graduated from Texas Tech University and completed his master's degree in journalism at Columbia College Chicago.

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