While in-person traffic remained steady at New York’s retail sportsbooks on Saturday, the main takeaway from the opening weekend of mobile sports betting in the Empire State centered on the robust transactional volume recorded on smartphones throughout one of the nation’s largest states.
Over a 12-hour period ending at 9 p.m. Saturday, the Vancouver-based geolocation security firm GeoComply recorded 5.8 million transactions in New York, dwarfing volume in Pennsylvania (2.3 million transactions) and New Jersey (2.1 million), the next closest states.
GeoComply tracks geolocation data for BetRivers, Caesars Sportsbook, DraftKings, and FanDuel – the four sportsbook operators which received approval from the New York Gaming Commission on last Thursday to begin accepting mobile sports wagers. The commission authorized the four operators to go live with mobile sports betting at 9 a.m. Saturday.
“A launch this size is historically unprecedented,” said Lindsay Slader, managing director of gaming at GeoComply.
The first 36 hours of #SportsBetting in New York was LEGENDARY. In total, NY saw over 17M checks for their first weekend.
— GeoComply (@GeoComply) January 10, 2022
NFL dominates wagering activity
As expected, wagering on the NFL exceeded other sports by a considerable margin, as New York went live with mobile sports betting hours before kickoff of the NFL’s final week of the regular season. At BetRivers, which is run by Rush Street Interactive, NFL wagering made up about 49% of the mobile New York handle on Day 1. Wagering on basketball, featuring NBA and college hoops activity, ranked second at 28%, followed by soccer and hockey.
“New York has been an extremely successful market launch for BetRivers’ sportsbook,” said Mattias Stetz, COO of Rush Street Interactive. “New registrations exceeded any other state market launch. …New York has exceeded all our expectations on this first day. I guess that’s why they call it the ‘Big Apple.'”
A similar narrative prevailed at DraftKings and FanDuel, two of the nation’s top sportsbooks by market share. At DraftKings, nine of the top 10 props placed on the New York site Saturday were on NFL wagers. Only a prop DraftKings dubbed as the “Bing Bong Odds Boost” cracked the Top 10 among non-NFL bets. The prop asked bettors to predict whether Knicks forwards Julius Randle and R.J. Barrett would record a combined 60 points and rebounds against the Celtics on Saturday evening, which they failed to do.
A whopping 60.1% of DraftKings’ bets from New York were placed on the NFL, according to a company spokesperson, followed by 16.3% on the NBA and 10.9% on college basketball. Although DraftKings CEO Jason Robins did not comment publicly on the company’s opening day in New York, he thanked a user on Twitter for a laudatory post on DraftKings’ rollout in the Empire State.
Jason, absolutely great work launching in NY, keeping tech up and running, happy customers, on top of the marketing and SOME,New King in town. Very nicely done thx 🙏💪👏🚀
— thchr (@TC_TC_TC1) January 9, 2022
At FanDuel, meanwhile, NFL wagers made up four of the top five events by handle in New York. Two of the four featured so-called “super boosts” from FanDuel on the Chiefs-Broncos and Cowboys-Eagles doubleheader on Saturday. If the total in the Chiefs-Broncos game reached at least three points, requiring only one field goal, the bet would be declared a winner. Such wagers on low point totals are widely viewed as promotional giveaways by sportsbook operators vying to acquire new customers.
Here were the top FanDuel events by handle in New York on Saturday, Jan. 8:
- Chiefs-Broncos (NFL)
- Cowboys-Eagles (NFL)
- Super Boost: 3+ Total Points scored in PHL-DAL game
- Super Boost: 3+ Total Points scored in KC-DEN game
- Heat-Suns NBA game
Next Up: Monday night’s CFP finale
A fourth book, Caesars Sportsbook, arguably offered the most favorable promotion for bettors when it provided new customers with $300 in free wagers for opening an online account. But Caesars also experienced some headaches on Day 1 in New York when the online sportsbook dealt with a temporary service interruption on Saturday evening. The tech issue was resolved within several hours, Caesars announced via Twitter.
— New York Foxes (@NewYorkFoxes) January 9, 2022
Following a successful NFL weekend, New York sportsbooks will turn to Monday night’s College Football Playoff (CFP) national championship as the next major event on the 2022 sports betting calendar. As of Monday afternoon, wagers on Alabama (+120) represented about 82% of nationwide moneyline bets at DraftKings. At the same time, approximately 61% of all spread wagers were placed on the Crimson Tide (+2.5) in their matchup against SEC rival Georgia.
Besides the four online sportsbooks that are already live in New York, the New York Gaming Commission awarded conditional licenses to five others in November, and New York state Sen. Joseph Addabbo Jr. is confident that all five will be up-and-running before the Super Bowl.
Photo: Mark Konezny/USA TODAY