Sports Wagering In New York Continues Slow Fall Rebound

High tax rate and bonus offers drying up may be impeding betting
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The legal sports betting industry in New York continued a sluggish fall recovery from its summer lull.

The weekly handle reported by all nine mobile sportsbook operators in the state for the week ending Sept. 25 came to $301.6 million, up slightly from the previous week, according to the latest gaming commission report. The week ending Sept. 18 had been down roughly 10% from the previous week, prompting some to worry that New York’s 51% tax rate, highest in the nation, was stunting a recovery fueled by the return of NFL action. Another explanation for the underwhelming numbers is that operators have canceled some of the sign-up bonuses they offered heading into the NFL and NCAA football seasons.

Last week’s volume was the second handle over $300 million since early May. July and August produced the state’s only sub-$1 million monthly handles since the state launched legal sports betting on Jan. 8.

Overall numbers trending up

NY Online Gambling analyst Chris Altruda estimated that September and October could bring NFL-only handle exceeding $1 billion for the two months combined in New York. The sportsbooks’ overall handle in the fall months thus could be in line with or even exceed the monthly numbers during the heyday of New York sports betting last January. The weekly high-water mark for handle was Jan. 23, when New Yorkers risked $572.6 million in sports bets.

Overall, the late-summer rebound appears to be real, if not as strong as some would like. After six straight weeks of sub-$200 million tallies, New Yorkers have wagered at least $200 million in five of the past seven weeks. July’s total handle of $800 million will almost certainly prove to be the low mark for 2022.

All told, New Yorkers have bet $11.29 billion on sports since the state launched regulated gambling on Jan. 8, with the nine sportsbook operators hauling in $897 million in GGR, translating to a hold rate of 7.9%.

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 extremely low. New York sportsbooks have had to fork over $154.5 million in taxes since the week that started March 28, and there are seven months left in the fiscal year, including 15 more weeks of NFL regular-season games.

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.

Photo: Shutterstock

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