In first 16 days

New York becomes fastest state to break $1B sports betting handle mark

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Sports bettors in New York placed over $1.1 billion in mobile sports wagers in less than a month in January. The state has now become the fastest to break the $1 billion handle mark and has surpassed the prior record for strongest launch, set by Arizona, which blew past $1 billion in November.

Since opening on January 8, the New York sports market has broken record after record in just 16 days, with some experts claiming it has already secured its position as the largest sports betting state in the US, a title New Jersey had until now. 

The data, released by the state’s gaming commission, positions New York very favorably, especially given bets placed within the last seven days of January were not taken into account for the report, explains CBS News. Officials plan to release the additional figures “in coming days.”

Eric Ramsey, a market analyst for the PlayUSA Network, told CBS MoneyWatch that the record-setting $1.1 billion handle exceeded what experts expected for New York’s first weeks of mobile gambling.

The specialist further said the landmark achievement was particularly noteworthy taking into account it happened before both the Super Bowl and March Madness, the largest betting events of the year. 

New York could post even higher handle results going forward once these events take place in the coming weeks, and might be positioned to break other records soon, including the most handle in a one-month period. The title is currently held by New Jersey, with $1.3 billion posted in October.

So far, six sportsbooks are currently operational in the state. Caesars, FanDuel, DraftKings and BetRivers all launched on the market’s first day, while BetMGM and PointsBet joined them shortly afterward, on January 17 and January 25 respectively. WynnBET, Bally’s and Resorts World have all received conditional approval to launch but have not yet been cleared to do so.

Since launch, New York has posted $1.175 billion in total handle, which led to a total gross gaming revenue (GGR) of $91.427 million, and taxes to the state of $46.628 million, based on a 51% tax rate.

While many factors positioned New York to deliver record-breaking figures, including a 20 million population, a competitive market, and sizable player volumes, part of what made the difference are the unusually high bonuses sportsbooks have offered customers to start betting.

Operators already live in the market have been giving record incentives to players in an effort to quickly secure a leadership position before the market keeps expanding. These aggressive spending tactics have become a common practice as of late, with industry leaders such as FanDuel and DraftKings going as far as offering $1,000 credits to sign up new customers in some of their active markets.

Analysts, which partly credit the success of the New York market to the heavy promotion, have voiced concerns on the sustainability of these tactics: promotions are expected to tone down in the mid to long term should operators hope to see profitability in New York. It is believed it could cost between $300 to $500 on average to acquire an online gaming customer.

So far, however, all players in New York seem to be highly pleased with the results posted during the initial weeks of sports betting. PointsBet, the latest to join the action, described in a statement the numbers as “exciting to watch.”

"We were confident that New York state would offer a huge opportunity to reach an active and engaged segment of bettors," Chief Marketing Officer Kyle Christensen said in a statement. "We saw the patterns and we knew the appetite was there.”

“New Yorkers are bettors and always have been,” Johnny Avello, DraftKings’ Director of Race & Sportsbook Operations, told PIX11. Meanwhile, Mike Raffensperger, Chief Marketing Officer for FanDuel, credited the popularity to the convenience of applications: “This is just the way people order their dinner, their Amazon groceries… They do it on their phones and they do it on their apps.”

Breaking down data by sportsbook positions Caesars as the leader with $483.3 million in bets, followed by FanDuel at $360 million and DraftKings at $265.5 million. BetMGM placed fourth with $40.6 million in bets, and BetRivers fifth, with $22.2 million. PointsBet’s figures were not yet released since the product launched in January 25.