Several months have passed since New York formally approved a line item for mobile sports betting in the 2022 Fiscal Year budget, setting the stage for the expected rollout of online sports wagering before next year’s Super Bowl.
Now, the New York Gaming Commission is staring at a deadline to issue a closely watched Request for Applications (RFA) on mobile sports betting by July 1. The issuance of a RFA will begin a competitive bidding process in which New York state will award contracts to a minimum of two platform providers to operate mobile sports betting across the nation’s fourth-largest state.
Shortly after Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed the budget into law, the commission released a 10-page memo in late April containing 92 pressing questions associated with the rollout of online sports wagering in New York. At the time, the commission noted there was a strong likelihood that the rules would be “made public no later than the released date” of the RFA.
A spokesman for the commission did not respond to a request from Sports Handle for comment.
Timing of the essence
Sen. Joseph Addabbo Jr., author of a comprehensive sports bill in the New York State Senate, spent the better part of the last three years pushing for the adoption of mobile sports betting in the Empire State. Addabbo, chairman of the Senate’s Racing, Gaming and Wagering Committee, is regarded as one of the key brokers in pushing online sports wagering across the finish line during intense negotiations with Cuomo’s office in April.
Addabbo credited the commission for its outreach efforts in seeking comment from top sportsbook industry executives in recent weeks. Still, the state senator from Queens emphasized the importance of expediency in completing the mobile sports betting regulations in a timely fashion.
“You want to be almost at your optimum level right before the Super Bowl, because that is the big event,” Addabbo told Sports Handle. “I still remain optimistic, it would behoove the state to do so.”
During budget negotiations, Addabbo indicated that Senate leaders wanted to include language with realistic deadlines to get the “ball moving downfield” at a steady clip. In the event the mobile sports betting regulations are released after July 1, the state will simply need to “pick up the pace,” he noted.
There are conflicting narratives on the commission’s progress, with one source telling Sports Handle that the draft regulations were nearly complete weeks ago, while another claims the process is coming along slowly.
Another day, a little more clarity, and more questions.
NYS leaders must untangle a complex web of competing interests in selecting providers and skins to run mobile sports betting statewide.
— Sports Handle (@sports_handle) April 7, 2021
Given the size of the New York market, virtually all of the industry’s top players are expected to complete a platform provider application, including DraftKings, FanDuel, BetMGM, and Caesars/William Hill, among others. The commission is also required by law to select a minimum of four additional mobile sports operators. Those companies will operate on servers maintained by the platform providers.
Once the RFA is issued, platform providers are required by state law to submit the applications within a period of 30 days. After the final application is submitted, the commission has a period of 150 days to select the platform providers and operators before the end of the calendar year.