US Online Betting - The Cases of NY and Colorado

Cvetanka Cvetanovska | Published 22 Jan 2020, 3:01 p.m.

As we discussed recently, the UK gambling market has become more restrictive regarding credit card bans and betting limits. UK authorities put the online stake limit as a solution to tackle problem gambling. After the decision came into force, the revenue share percentage of operators significantly dropped, based on the six-month research report.

On the other side, legal online betting space in the US is very diverse from one state to another. There are states where gambling, at least in some forms, has already been legalised and is practised by residents. Then, there are states where there is an initiative to legalise gambling and the process has already reached a certain stage. Finally, there are states where almost all forms of gambling are illegal and it doesn’t seem like that is going to change any time soon. 

Legal betting in Colorado on the horizon

Recently, the US state of Colorado opened the doors for existing and upcoming betting operators who are willing to set up sports betting shops.  More than 40 inquirers submitted their applications that will enable them to provide betting services. This happened only within a few days, since Colorado launched the initiative on Jan 16, 2020.

The strategy behind this move is to bypass the potential black betting market and offshore operations. Interested parties supported the Proposition DD last November, modifying Colorado’s constitution to allow betting operations.

The Colorado Limited Gaming Control Commission which oversees the sports betting industry for both retail locations and online space, has shown its collaborative side by issuing 30 licences so far. More than 10 operators are looking to start their business for the first time in the state.

New York is holding up 

Meanwhile in New York, the Government’s plan is far more restrictive. According to the FY 2021 budget released this week, betting will be allowed from a device, as long as the punter is physically located within the walls of the casino facility. With mobile sports betting not being permitted within the state, New Yorkers are still estimated to wager billions through illegal bookmakers and unlicensed offshore sites. Provided data shows that New York faces its largest budget deficit this decade, while New Jersey and Pennsylvania sportsbooks take millions of dollars wagered legally each month.

The beginnings of the story however were very different. New York’s legislative was a potential prospect for legal sports betting authorisation even before the federal ban in May 2018. The progress New Jersey has made through these years initiated the legal case that ultimately ended the ban and its early stake as the East Coasts’ largest sports betting market.

Revenue expectancy

Casinos have wagered $7 million in revenue since New York accepted its first bet back in July 2019, which represents a drop in the bucket of the national market, which is around $150 million in combined revenue and close to $16 billion in total wagers. The lack of freedom in online betting took the largest stake. 

The state of Colorado, however, expects to collect $20 million every year. Casinos have to pay 10% tax soon after they start to operate. Sport events like the Super Bowl and March Madness will be done by the time the plan becomes official, so the first-year revenue may not be that high, but the future looks bright in this case.

What comes next?

New York’s governor Andrew Cuomo is remaining neutral regarding an online sports betting bill. Supporters hope that the deficit might end up being the catalyst that’ll place the focus on the bill and get Cuomo’s support. Meanwhile, more states will start taking bets this year and dozens of more by the end of 2021. 

Most of these legislatives will do so online, cracking away at what is estimated to be a $160 billion national black market for sports betting. At the same time, Colorado is placed well among the states that have not yet legalized sports betting.  

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