Put It In The Books: New York Sets Sports Betting Handle Record

The state also collected a record-smashing $61.2 million in tax revenue in less than one full month
New York skyline

King of the hill. Top of the heap. A-number 1.

And most certainly, no little town blues melting away.

The New York State Gaming Commission released its retail sports betting numbers for January, making official what was known from compiling the mobile ones: The Empire State now holds the record for the highest monthly handle in the post-PASPA era with close to $1.65 billion after a wildly successful launch of digital wagering.

The previous record was held by New Jersey, which took $1.3 billion worth of bets in October, a month when many states established new records thanks in part to there being five weekends. Considering mobile wagering was available in New York only from Jan. 8 until the end of the month, there is considerable upside still to tap for the Empire State. At least seven operators — Caesars, FanDuel, DraftKings, BetRivers, BetMGMPointsBet, and WynnBET — will make their first run at $2 billion in February backed by the single biggest sports betting event of the year, Super Bowl 56 on Sunday.

OperatorHandleGross Gaming RevenueWin Rate
Mobile Total$1,624,920,676$112,999,0796.95%

The staggering total also made New York one of 11 states to surpass $2 billion in all-time handle, blowing right past the first-billion signpost. January’s handle was more than four times the total of the exclusively retail handle of $363.2 million generated at the state’s four casinos since launch in July 2019.

The mobile handle accounted for 98.7% of all wagers made as the state’s four commercial casinos accepted close to $21 million in wagers for the first month of the year. That was a decrease of 0.6% compared to December, but it also marked the fourth consecutive month retail handle cleared $20 million.

Thanks to the 51% tax on mobile gross gaming revenue, New York also set a national monthly record for tax receipts with close to $61.2 million. That is almost three times the previous standard of $21.6 million set by Pennsylvania in November.

The mobile hold for the month was just shy of the industry standard of 7%, suggesting New York is quite capable of meeting the $500 million in annual tax revenue then-Gov. Andrew Cuomo projected when pushing for the rate as the legislative process evolved.

Did retail cost New York a shot at the ‘triple crown’?

The scale of just how much three-plus weeks of mobile betting in New York outperformed two-plus years of retail wagering in the state is difficult to fathom, but here’s a small list of comparisons:

  • The overall January revenue of $112.8 million was 2.7 times the all-time gross gaming revenue.
  • The tax receipts of $61.2 million were nearly 14.6 times the all-time tax revenue generated.
  • The January handle was 77.9 times the December handle.
  • The January revenue was 147.5 times the December revenue.

New York’s revenue total for January ranks second in the post-PASPA era behind New Jersey’s $114.8 million in November. But the usually strong New York retail sportsbooks, which had a collective 12% hold in 2021, failed to help the Empire State complete a record-setting sweep of the three major financial sports betting categories.

Bettors won nearly $200,000 more than the $21 million wagered at the four commercial casinos, the public’s largest victory in state history and first winning month since February 2020. Had the quartet matched the 12% win rate from last year, the $2.5 million in revenue on top of the $113 million amassed by mobile operators would have been enough to rank New York first across the board.

Rivers Casino was the only one of the four retail books to come out ahead, with slightly more than $256,000 held on $9 million handle, but Resorts World more than canceled that gain as it lost more than $280,000 on $4.4 million wagered. Del Lago and Tioga Downs combined for nearly $175,000 in losses from close to $7.6 million in bets.

Rivers’ retail book slightly outperformed its mobile counterpart, generating 30.6% of the mobile revenue total on 27.8% of the handle. The retail win rate there was just over one-quarter of a percentage point higher than the mobile.

Photo: Shutterstock


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