New York Sportsbooks Enjoyed Record Month in November
New York sportsbooks generated a record $148.2 million in revenue during November as bettors wagered $1.55 billion on a variety of sports. It was the third consecutive month in which the handle smashed through the $1.5 billion barrier, underscoring the popularity of the NFL season. The previous monthly revenue of $145.7 million was set in October, but operators generated a 1.7% month-on-month increase in November.
The state’s sportsbooks have now handled more than $14.5 billion since legal online wagering began in January. They have earned more than $1.22 billion in revenue, handing over $621 million to the state in taxes. That has shattered expectations. Former Governor Andrew Cuomo projected that the state would earn $99 million in the first year of legal sports betting and that it would hit $500 million by 2024, but it is already well ahead of those forecasts.
FanDuel and DraftKings continued their dominance in November, accounting for a combined 73.7% of New York’s $1.55 billion handle. FanDuel increased its handle by 6.1% to reach $646.2 million, while it held a record $78.3 million. No sportsbook has ever earned that much revenue in a single state over the course of a month. FanDuel’s gain was DraftKings’ loss, as its handle slipped 6.7% to $498.7 million. However, DraftKings managed to increase its revenue by $1.2 million month-on-month too. Caesars Sportsbook was a distant third, with $200.3 million handled and revenue of $14.9 million, while BetMGM was fourth with $111.4 million handled and $8 million in revenue.
Wild Promotional Spending is Over
BetMGM is the No. 3 sportsbook on a nationwide basis, but it has not battled for market share as aggressively in New York. The state charges operators a 51% revenue tax, which makes it difficult for them to earn a margin. Pennsylvania also charges a high 36% revenue tax, but it allows operators to deduct promotional spending before paying tax on the remainder. New York does not, so any spending on bonuses makes it even harder for them to turn a profit in the Empire State.
As such, BetMGM has stopped offering its sign-up bonus – a risk-free bet worth up to $1,000 – in New York, while still running it in every other state it operates in. BetRivers and WynnBET, ranked No. 6 and No. 7 respectively in New York, are now offering far smaller welcome bonuses there than in any other state, and operators have cut back on recurring promos for existing customers too.
Matt Prevost, the chief revenue officer at BetMGM, claims that the era of operators offering huge promos and spending heavily on advertising to build up market share in New York is firmly in the rear view mirror. “Anyone who lived through the New York launch saw the craziness of the offers,” said Prevost at the Sports Business Journal’s Media Innovators conference. “I think those days are waning.”
Caesars Sportsbook gave away a $300 no deposit bonus when it launched in New York in January, along with a deposit match bonus worth up to $3,000. That took the total sign-up package to $3,300, and it had just a 1x rollover requirement. Caesars has since admitted that the bonus was excessive, and it now offers first bet insurance of up to $1,250 in New York instead. It also invested in prominent advertising during NFL games, but that spend has been significantly reduced too, as it was unsustainable.
Senator Pete Harkham, a Democrat for the 40th district, has introduced a bill that would direct the NYS Gaming Commission to promulgate rules and regulations regarding predatory sportsbook bonuses in mobile sports betting.” The bill reads: “The mobile sports betting industry is utilizing targeted advertising that is personally tailored to lure in new customers from right within their homes. This means that following legal sports betting in New York State, multitudes of people who were not formerly presented with these predatory practices will fall susceptible to gambling addiction that could otherwise have been avoided.”
States Across the Country Gain Momentum
Some states are not as quick to release revenue figures as New York, so the numbers are still rolling in from October around the country. Virginia revealed that the handle increased 23.6% year-on-year to $528 million in October, up from $427.3 million in October 2021. It also represented a 28.4% month-on-month increase on the $411.3 million wagered in September. Gross gaming revenue – winnings minus promotional spend – soared by 364.3% year-on-year from $9.8 million last October to $45.5 million this time around. Operators only invested $964.187 million on promotions in another sign that the industry is maturing on a nationwide basis. The state collected $7 million in taxes.
That left Virginia fractionally ahead of Colorado, which took $526.6 million in October. That was a more modest 7.2% increase compared to October 2021, and it also represented a 17% rise on the $450 million wagered in the previous month, according to the Colorado Division of Gaming. Pro football was the most popular sport, accounting for 32% of the handle, followed by basketball, college football, baseball and tennis. “Taxes collected by the state in October 2022 were 87% higher than taxes collected last year during the same period, October 2021,” the Division of Gaming said in a press release.
Arizona is even slower to issue its handle and revenue updates, and it has only just reported figures from September. They show that bettors in the state wagered $538 million that month, which represents an 84.7% uptick on September 2021, the first full month of legal wagering in Arizona. “September was clearly a strong month for Arizona sports betting, with the state seeing over $245 million more in wagers when compared to the same month of 2021,” said Ted Vogt, director of the Arizona Department of Gaming, which collected $3.1 million in taxes from a statewide adjusted gross gaming revenue of $30.7 million. “I am excited to see how the industry progresses through the winter months, which generally has the most popular sports for wagering in the United States.”