New York State Gaming Commission Unveils Mobile Betting License Bidders

  • The list of primary applicants includes FanDuel, Bet365, theScore, Kambi, and FOX Bet
  • New York intends to introduce state-run mobile wagering after the Super Bowl in February 2022
  • Platform providers will pay a $25m one-time license cost, while operators will not pay a fee
  • All applicants have experience in the US, most with sportsbook operations in multiple states
New York State flag
The New York State Gaming Commission has revealed the five applicants in its mobile betting RFA process, namely FanDuel, Bet365, theScore, Kambi, and FOX Bet. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

The NYGC reveals all

Last month, the New York State Gaming Commission (NYGC) began a Request for Applications (RFA) process for the state’s online sports betting licenses. Now, the gambling regulator has revealed which operators have submitted bids to enter the market.

The NYGC took to Twitter on Tuesday to announce that it had published a list of applicants on its website:

The list includes five primary applicants – namely FanDuel, Bet365, theScore, Kambi, and FOX Bet – and their partners. Unusually, FanDuel has partnered with some of its main competitors, including Bally’s Interactive, BetMGM, and DraftKings. Meanwhile, theScore, Bet365, and FOX Bet have all submitted applications without partnerships.

Malta-based gaming supplier Kambi has submitted two bids. Its first application features five partners, including Caesars Entertainment, Resorts World, PointsBet, Rush Street Interactive, and WynnBET. In contrast, the firm’s second bid names only FBG Enterprises and Penn Sports Interactive.

What can the winner expect?

Lawmakers in New York gave the green light to mobile sports betting in their $212bn state budget released in April this year. Aligning with the desires of Governor Andrew Cuomo, New York has opted for a lottery-style state-run format for mobile wagering. The state expects to introduce mobile wagering in February 2022 after the Super Bowl.

This week, Cuomo announced that he is stepping down as governor after an investigation found he sexually harrassed 11 people. New York State Senator Joseph Addabbo has affirmed that the transition will not affect the timeline for mobile wagering, however.

In April, the NYGC published a ten-page report clarifying details surrounding the structure of the new market. According to this document, New York’s commercial casinos will host servers for mobile betting platform providers. Although it has not yet decided how many permits are available, the NYGC is intending to hand out licenses to at least two platform providers and a minimum of four operators through its RFA process.

If applicants suggest a tax rate of 50% they will receive 20 points

The NYGC will base its decision on a point system centered on maximizing revenue for the state. As such, the regulator will give great importance to the suggested rate of taxation. If applicants suggest a tax rate of 50% they will receive 20 points, while a rate between 12.5% and 30% will result in only three.

Successful platform provider candidates will have to pay a one-time license fee of $25m. Meanwhile, operators will not be subject to a fee. The casinos that host servers will receive a $5m annual fee from platform providers, in addition to any other reasonable and actual associated costs.

Assessing the competition

Now that the five applicants in New York’s RFA process are public knowledge, how do the bidders stack up against each other?

FanDuel – Flutter Entertainment-owned FanDuel is a household name in the world of US sports betting. The company has gone live in a total of ten states and boasts a large number of sports partnerships, including an official deal with the NFL signed this year. FanDuel saw $903.9m in revenue in H1 2021, up 159% year-on-year.

Bet365 – UK-based sportsbook brand Bet365 only went live in the US for the first time in August 2019.  However, the operator holds betting licenses in more than two dozen countries and currently has about 53 million customers. Unlike many other operators, Bet365 has not focused on rapid expansion in the US, with its sportsbook still only active in New Jersey.

Penn National Gaming agreed to acquire theScore in a $2bn deal.

theScore – theScore is a Canadian-based sportsbook operator which has recently committed to expansion across the US. Its sportsbook, theScore Bet, is now live in four states, including Colorado, Indiana, New Jersey, and Iowa. Only last week, Penn National Gaming agreed to acquire theScore in a $2bn deal.

Kambi – Based in Malta, gaming supplier Kambi has partnerships with operators across six continents, including 888 Holdings, DraftKings, and Penn National. The company’s US expansion gained pace in 2020, meaning it’s now powering sports betting in 13 states. As such, Kambi saw revenue increase by 28% for the full year 2020 to a total of €92.3m ($108.3m).

FOX Bet – Fox Corporation’s joint betting venture with The Stars Group, FOX Bet, first launched in 2019 in the state of Pennsylvania. The sportsbook is now live in four states and is owned by Flutter Entertainment after its acquisition of The Stars Group last year. The company saw $96m in revenue for the full year 2020, representing 8% of Flutter’s US revenue.