The Supreme Court’s decision to lift the federal ban on sports betting in 2018 has seen an unparalleled boom in sports betting with the markets following suit. However, New York’s regulated sports betting market produced a lower gross gaming revenue in October with month-on-month declines from two of the four licensed operators. But, why is this?
Before we crack onto the why, let’s crack onto the what; what dipped?
The four licensed operators reported a combined gross gaming revenue of $2.23m in October, down 2.2% versus September’s $2.28m. But, is this even dramatic? This figure was still the second-highest monthly total since regulated retail wagering came into force in July. Crisis. What crisis?
However, the decline was always going to cause distress for operators, after all, this is a market that is expanding not reclining.
Well, look to the south and to the example of New Jersey. The technological world is reaching unprecedented levels, and, in the Garden State, over 80% of sports wagers are placed online and mobile devices.
Compare that to New York; despite often being regarded as the cultural, financial and media capital of the world, the state is still restricted to land-based commercial sportsbooks. Because lawmakers have still not given online and mobile betting the green light, New York has not and will not be able to take advantage of the full potential of its sports betting market.
But, it shouldn’t be the case. The Empire State was a leader of the expansion of sports betting, legalizing land-based sports betting through the passage of the 2013 New York Economic Gaming Act.
New York has its problems though. Governor Andrew Cuomo has been vocally hostile against the introduction of mobile betting. Why? Well Cuomo claimed that adding sports betting with offerings like betting picks and sports picks would require a constitutional amendment to enable sports betting outside of casinos. And, such a high-profile opponent meant that mobile sports betting was left out of the state budget.
Ease of crossing the border
The New York Gaming Commission recently decided to allow in-person wagering in upstate casinos, but New York City residents – remember, this is the most populous city in the whole of the US – are just not going to travel upstate to place a sports bet when they can do this so easily over the border in New Jersey.
Why not try for the constitutional amendment then? Well, such an amendment in the Empire State will take over a minimum of three years and such a delay will put New York’s gaming industry even further behind New Jersey.
New York could get left behind
As such, the New York gaming industry is stuck; does it progress with technology and hopefully pick up revenue or continue to allow other states to prosper? If the Empire State chooses the latter then revenues could dip even further.