New York Wows With $603 Million Sports Betting Handle In First Nine Days

Caesars led the way in money wagered, thanks in no small part to its massive first-deposit promotion
New York skyline

If the first nine days of mobile sports wagering activity are any indication about the leviathan that is the New York market, try imagining what a full month of betting will look like when all nine operators are in action.

The New York State Gaming Commission has published handle and revenue numbers covering the opening weekend and subsequent first full week of mobile sports betting, and the Empire State did the impossible: exceed expectations of practically everyone with a jaw-dropping $603.1 million handle and generate enough tax receipts from the $48.2 million in operator revenue to set an all-time national post-PASPA record for any month in any state.

DraftKings, BetRivers, Caesars, and FanDuel all took their initial wagers Jan. 8, with the quartet vying for bettors with huge introductory promotions and wagering specials throughout the weekend. They were also helped by the final week of the NFL season and the wild card round of the postseason as DraftKings, Caesars, and FanDuel all are official league partners.

In what will be just over three full weeks (including, importantly, four weekends) of mobile wagering, it appears likely New York will eclipse New Jersey’s record monthly handle of $1.3 billion set in October and has a decent chance of topping the Garden State’s record revenue haul of $114.8 million in November. In terms of tax receipts, the Empire State’s nearly $24.6 million has already topped the record $21.6 million Pennsylvania claimed in November.

Caesars’ monstrous promo means monstrous handle

Caesars, which has failed to generate notable market share in two of the other five largest markets in the U.S., Illinois and Pennsylvania, pushed hard for a successful New York launch. Its stunning offer of matching deposits up to $3,000 proved incredibly attractive to bettors as Caesars led the four operators with more than $257.6 million wagered as well as $22.7 million in gross revenue.

That 42.7% market share of handle actually could have been greater had Caesars not endured some technical glitches during the opening weekend — in part due to the droves of people attempting to take advantage of that substantial sign-up promotion. That led to understandable grousing among some bettors, but whether they will walk with their wallets to the now-four other operators in action after BetMGM launched last Monday remains to be seen.

Caesars also had the highest hold among the four operators at 8.8%, a notch above the overall 8% win rate in the state.

FanDuel and DraftKings give chase with solid debuts

The New York State Gaming Commission does not break out handle by sport, so it is unknown how much FanDuel’s “Same Game Parlay” impacted its numbers, but they were impressive all the same as the operator posted a handle of close to $200.4 million and finished second in revenue with $14.1 million from a 7.1% hold. As a comparison point in other large-market states, FanDuel generated $246.8 million in handle in Pennsylvania and $214.4 million in Illinois for all of November.

DraftKings had a solid but unspectacular first nine days of action, claiming 22.3% of the handle market share with $134.4 million wagered, attracting interest with a promo of 56/1 odds on any $5 NFL bet made. DraftKings generated just shy of $11 million in revenue off an 8.1% hold that placed second among the four operators.

BetRivers, which did nearly $1 million in handle on its opening day, finished with just over $10.6 million in handle and close to $450,000 in revenue as its 4.2% hold was easily the lowest among the four who launched Jan. 8. Its promotion was a match of deposits up to $250, which was consistent with the site’s offers in previous marketplaces entered.

So where do these numbers stack up nationally?

New York’s totals in just nine days of wagering already place the state in elite company. The $603 million handle ranks 32nd all-time among monthly state totals. New York also became the sixth state, along with New Jersey, Nevada, Illinois, Pennsylvania, and Michigan, to post at least $500 million worth of wagers in a given month.

The nine-day handle is already the highest total of any state’s first-month report in the post-PASPA era, with Nevada’s $286.5 million in June 2018 consigned to being a very distant second by the time all of New York’s numbers are added up. The $48.2 million in gross revenue was just enough to claim the 30th spot among monthly totals and makes New York the seventh state to reach at least $45 million in a month. With two more full weeks of wagering to be added in and underdogs nearly sweeping the NFL divisional round playoff games in dramatic fashion — offering the potential of increased in-play wagering — it would not be surprising to see revenue north of $100 million and make New Jersey’s November national standard a short-lived one.

The state taxes collected on operator revenue will also generate plenty of attention given the expectations of $500 million annually expressed by former Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who held firm on a 51% tax rate that was met with some derision as the framework process played out. The state has projected nearly $250 million from sports wagering for this fiscal year, which includes license fees and ends June 30, and $357 million for Fiscal Year 2023.

The $24.6 million from the first nine days of wagering will have been just the second monthly total to surpass $20 million, with Pennsylvania’s total from November coming on the strength of its 36% tax rate that was the highest in the nation in a competitive marketplace until New York launched mobile wagering. The 51% rate matches that in New Hampshire and Rhode Island, states that conduct online sports wagering with a sole operator.

Photo: Shutterstock


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