Growth continues in the New York sports betting market with records smashed, but the end of the NHL and NBA betting seasons is likely to impact revenues through summer. Now that the second half of 2023 is in full swing, it’s a good time to take stock.
At the end of May, New York became the first state in the US to hit $1 billion in gambling tax revenue since sports betting became legal in January 2022. That number, driven by the high tax rate in New York and buoyant customer activity, dwarfs the other US states that have legalized online gambling.
The closest states for lifetime tax revenue to New York are currently Pennsylvania at $428 million, where online gambling was legalized in 2019, and $368 million in tax receipts in New Jersey, now into its sixth year of legal sports betting.
Now that summer is with us in New York and the second half of 2023 is underway, it’s worth noting that June, July and August last year saw a dip in sports betting activity. In 2022, total betting handle for the period from June to the end of August dropped 35% on the previous three months.
Of the big US sports, once the NBA Finals and Stanley Cup have concluded in June, all that’s really left for bettors in summer is the MLB. New Yorkers were also unable to bet on the NBA Draft. The Belmont Stakes is already over for horse racing fans too as is the US Open in golf.
While the most popular team sports take a break, betting on the UFC is likely to draw attention with events taking place most weeks. American sports fans may also cast their gaze farther afield with Wimbledon and the FIFA Women’s World Cup to come in July.
The CONCACAF Gold Cup is also underway with the US men’s soccer team among the favorites in soccer betting markets to win the tournament.
New York's total sports betting handle and Gross Gaming Revenue (GGR) have both been relatively consistent in June but both are down on previous months this year.
For week ending 4th June, 11th June and 18th June, those numbers were $299,899,360, $298,700,023 and $278,001,943 for handle. All were below the average for this fiscal year which stands at a little under $325.5 million.
For the same three weeks, GGR was $25,285,590, $26,063,647 and $27,190,161. Again, those weeks were below the fiscal year’s average which stands at a touch under $32.5 million. The trend that began in May - when betting spend fell to an eight-month low - continues.
However, a really strong showing in the second week of June has pushed DK above their DFS rivals so far this month. DraftKings is also the only book to be punching above their fiscal year handle average in June so far, up 9% on their average to date from week ending 2nd April.
That pair still knock every other gambling operator out of the park, though BetMGM and WynnBet were the two sportsbooks to post May handle figures above their calendar year averages. That was before both slumped this month in line with everyone else bar DraftKings.
The full breakdown for June so far is as follows:
Weeks Ending 6/4/23 - 6/18/23
23/24 Fiscal Year to 6/18/23
Market Share (Handle)
Resorts World Bet
DraftKings, WynnBet and Resorts World Bet have been the only three NY betting sites to show much sign of life as June has progressed, with each reporting an increase in handle for the third week in the month compared with the first.
WynnBet has had the only negative GGR result this month and one of just a handful seen among New York online sports betting providers this fiscal year. That number stood at -$64,794 for the first week in June.
A negative GGR means the book paid out more winnings than it held in player losses. Perhaps a bunch of bettors or even just one individual struck gold with WynnBet as the month began.
Whether some of New York’s sportsbooks, particularly the smaller operators, will exit the market remains a source of speculation. The state’s high tax rates - the highest in the US at 51% - are unlikely to change in the short term despite a debate about a bill to do so having raged all year.
The market leaders are certainly here to stay, despite joint protestations from the heads of DraftKings and FanDuel that the tax rate is stunting growth. In New York, BallyBet and Resorts World Bet are the two books with the smallest market share. Together the pair account for a little over a quarter of a percent of betting revenue in the state. Time will tell if that is sustainable for them.
There are ongoing claims that lowering the tax rate will encourage new entrants and so enhance competition. However with nine legal sports betting providers already, some of which have failed to make much impact, that might be an optimistic call just now.
Nationwide operators continue to limit their exposure to New York’s rules by expanding elsewhere.
For example, WynnBet entered the West Virginia legal sports betting sector week ending 23rd June to add an 11th state to its US sports betting portfolio. Meanwhile, BetMGM CEO Adam Greenblatt said recently he expects the brand - a joint venture between Entain and MGM Resorts - to achieve profitability in the second half of 2023 after breaking its own revenue records this year.
The summer betting downturn is hardly unique to New York. The likes of New Jersey and Nevada have experienced a similar trend at this time of year for some time.
The current struggles of the Mets and Yankees may hardly help Empire State sportsbooks in generating betting bucks from New York fans. The All-Star break is upon us though, and may give both a chance to regroup and plot a good run that surely they have within them. The Midsummer Classic also allows bettors to have a little fun with their baseball wagers.
As the state’s schools close for summer and vacation season begins, fear not sports fans and sportsbooks alike. NFL betting is just weeks away with the preseason, followed by the start of the season proper in early September, so we can be sure the dollars will resume flowing then.