It’s been a long time coming and, though it looked like a dark horse contender for many years, as of January 8, 2022 the first online sports betting has finally launched in New York.
In 2018, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down federal impediments to states setting their own regulations surrounding sports betting. This past April, the New York State Legislature approved a bill allowing for mobile sports betting. Nine months later, the first nascent online sportsbooks are launching for local users.
Four mobile apps have received approval from the New York State Gaming Commission to take bets on sporting events: Caesars Sportsbook, DraftKings, FanDuel, and Rush Street Interactive, which operate several online sportsbooks in Pennsylvania, Colorado, Indiana, and Illinois.
“The remaining five conditionally licensed Mobile Sports Wagering Operators continue to work towards satisfying statutory and regulatory requirements necessary to launch and will be approved on a rolling basis when requirements are met,” the state Gaming Commission says.
Those five include PointsBet, WynnBET, BallyBet, and a couple Westchester gamblers will be quite familiar with: Resorts World in the Catskills and Queens, and BetMGM, the mobile app for MGM casinos, which now includes Empire City Casino, acquired by MGM Resorts several years ago.
Empire City Casino and an alliance of Westchester County businesses have pushed for years for an expanded full casino license at the location, hoping to expand Empire City’s offerings to include sports betting as well as live table games. With the addition of the BetMGM app in New York State starting January 19, those goals are closer to being realized.
“We look forward to offering customers in New York unique experiences that they can’t access on any other platform,” says BetMGM CEO Adam Greenblatt. “A huge thank you to the New York Gaming Commission as well as to our entire BetMGM team who have worked tirelessly to bring this to fruition.”
New York State estimates $10 billion will be spent annually on sports betting, which is expected to result in nearly $1 billion in revenue. That hefty sum will be split between the operators and New York State, 51-49 in the state’s favor — much higher than similar deals in states where sports betting is already legal, such as New Jersey. Add to that the $200 million New York has already received in licensing fees, and Westchester County stands to reap a tidy profit from its resident betting parlor.
“A full gaming license at Empire City Casino by MGM Resorts will be a game-changer for Westchester, the Bronx, and the state,” an MGM spokesperson says, “bringing $1 billion in economic activity to the region, resulting in hundreds of millions in revenue to the state and creating more than 13,000 jobs, including 2,500 direct hires at Empire City.”
Additionally, revenue will fund $6 million annually for gambling addiction programs.