First NFL Thursday Points To Massive Fall Betting Volume in New York

Bills' season-opening rout of Rams produced heavy wagering activity
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Initial indicators point to a robust fall for the New York sports betting market.

Geocomply reported 3.7 million location checks in the state on Thursday, including more than 267,000 in the Buffalo area, as New Yorkers flocked to their betting apps for their first crack at wagering legally on an NFL opener. The Bills soundly defeated the Super Bowl champion Los Angeles Rams 31-10 in Southern California.

Thursday’s number of location checks in the Buffalo region were a 210% increase from the previous Thursday, according to Geocomply. And the 3.7 million checks statewide, with the majority coming from the New York City area, is a staggering number for one day when you consider that the state’s population is 19.5 million. Of course, one person can make multiple wagers and produce several location checks in a given day.

The increases regionally are just as staggering if viewed from a wide lens. New Jersey, for example, had 3 million location checks on Thursday. That’s a 550% increase from the first NFL opener in the state after the repeal of PASPA in 2018.

As reported in NY Online Gambling on Thursday, the Bills were a major liability for the New York’s mobile sportsbooks in Thursday night’s game and remain a liability in futures wagering, such as bets that they will win the AFC East, the AFC, or the Super Bowl.

Late summer uptick continues

Betting volume was already riding a tasty wave before Thursday’s game. New Yorkers wagered $243 million for the week ending Sept. 4, the biggest volume the state has produced since the week ending June 19, according to the latest gaming commission report.

New York’s legal sports betting industry, which witnessed a bit of a summer lull, had been gaining momentum in the weeks leading into the NFL opener. After six straight weeks of sub-$200 million tallies, New Yorkers have wagered at least that much in two of the past three weeks.

July’s handle of $800 million could prove to be the low-water mark for monthly wagering in the state, as volumes in September and October are expected to blow past the $1 billion mark.

New York bettors lead the way

All told, New Yorkers have bet $10.37 billion on sports since the state launched regulated gambling on Jan. 8, with the nine sportsbook operators hauling in $794 million in gross gaming revenue, producing a hold rate – or loss rate for gamblers – of 7.7%.

In July, Gov. Kathy Hochul’s office projected $357 million in tax revenue for fiscal year 2023, which began April 1, an estimate that could prove woefully low. New York sportsbooks have had to fork over $102.5 million in taxes since the week that started March 28, and there’s seven months left in the fiscal year, including the entire NFL season. New York’s 51% tax rate on GGR is tied with New Hampshire for the highest such rate in the nation.

Three operators have seized about 80% of New York’s market share, with FanDuel (35%), DraftKings (25%), and Caesars Sportsbook (20%) dominating wagering activity in the state. FanDuel had its best week since June 19 last week, reporting $106.8 million in handle and $13.1 million in GGR for a hold rate of 12.2%.

Photo: Gary A. Vasquez/USA TODAY

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