It no longer looks like all nine licensed sportsbook operators will be live in New York by Super Bowl LVI.
Bally’s Chairman Soo Kim told CNBC’s Contessa Brewer in an interview on another subject (a potential bid to buy the company) that Bally Bet will not be operational in New York until sometime in April. According to Kim, Bally’s is willing to miss the Feb. 13 Super Bowl and March Madness – the two biggest betting events on the U.S. sports calendar – in order to bypass the massive promotions other books have handed out in the early weeks of legal online sports gambling in New York.
“Oh yeah, we’re OK with that. I think that, look, we have a longer-term plan and I think part of this is why maybe our plan isn’t fully being grasped by the public markets. The public markets tend to be very short-term minded — what’s going to happen in the next earnings, what’s going to happen at the next, you know,” Kim said.
“But we think that actually the current version of sports betting is not a great business. It’s a fine business — it’s not a great business. We think that there will be a wave of consolidation that will rationalize promotions. But more importantly, I think people will stop competing with just free money, but people will start competing with the product.”
‘Insane’ promotions part of the delay?
Kim called the climate for customer acquisition in New York “insane,” as the initial movers have looked to seize market share by offering lavish promotions.
Caesars, one of the first three operators to go live in the state, offered the largest such deal, costing the company up to $3,300 per new user account. He also referenced New York’s 51% tax rate, which he said will be good for the state, but makes it tough for operators to clear much of a profit.
Caesars has seized the largest percentage (roughly 43%) of the New York market thus far, edging out FanDuel and DraftKings, among others. But some people are expecting the leaderboard to reshuffle once the signup promotions begin to peter out, as Caesars faced harsh criticism for its handling of technical issues with its app in the days following the Jan. 8 launch.
“Without casting aspersions on all of our fellow colleagues and industry participants, but you could literally open an account with one person, open an account with another person, get your free promotional money and bet separately, different ways on the same game, and you will win on one of them,” Kim said. “Like, I don’t know why everyone’s not doing that.”
New York authorities have been saying for months that all nine sportsbook operators likely would be operational by the Super Bowl. Operators expect another hefty weekend of handle as the NFL playoffs enter the conference championship round on Sunday.
There are six sportsbooks now live in New York after BetMGM launched Jan. 17 and PointsBet launched Monday night. Only Bally Bet, Resorts World, and WynnBET — which reportedly is up for sale — have yet to launch operations in the state among the nine operators granted licenses by the New York State Gaming Commission.
Neither WynnBET nor Resorts World responded to NY Online Gambling‘s request for information about their planned launches in New York. In a press release on its impending launch in Louisiana, WynnBET said, “Pending regulatory approval, we will also soon be launching our online sportsbook in New York and Iowa, expanding the number of states players can enjoy our platform from seven to 10.”