NEW YORK (NewsNation Now) — Those betting on a good response to New York’s allowance of sports gambling are in luck. In just the first weekend that sports betting went live in the state, people gambled $150 million.
The state’s gaming commission announced this month that four of the nine mobile sports wagering operators selected in November were approved to accept bets.
“We knew that New York sports bettors were a passionate group and they didn’t disappoint this weekend,” Tom Reeg Caesar’s Entertainment CEO said in an interview on CNBC.
Caesars Sportsbook, DraftKings, FanDuel and Rush Street Interactive started accepting bets on Saturday, and BetMGM joined the fray on Monday.
New Yorkers went wild in the first three days sports gambling was legal. According to GeoComply, a cybersecurity firm that tracks this data, from Saturday through Monday on opening weekend, more than 1.2 million accounts were active in New York, with 878,000 unique players. Nearly 90% of these bettors were new to regulated sports betting.
New York’s success is a boon for an industry that was already expected to be profitable— state elected officials previously estimated that sports gambling could bring New York up to $500 million year in tax revenue. The high numbers New York raked in this past weekend are already being talked about in the 2023 budget.
Now, national attention is on California, where there’s an initiative to allow sports betting at tribal casinos and horse-racing tracks on the November 2022 ballot.
There have already been several attempts to get sports gambling on the docket in the state, but they have all failed so far. However, if California does end up legalizing sports betting this year, more than two-thirds of Americans would live in a state where sports gambling is a part of every day lives.
Since 2018, more than 30 states have legalized the practice, and at least 20 have gone live.
Andrew Brandt, executive director of the Jeffrey S. Moorad Center for Sports Law Study at Villanova University and former vice president of the Green Bay Packers, said the shift in how people are now thinking about sports betting is “amazing” to him as the topic was formerly taboo.
“You couldn’t get near sports betting,” Brandt said.
This all changed one day in May 2018, Brandt said, when the Supreme Court said it was unconstitutional to stop states from offering sports gambling.
Sports betting is something people are familiar with from fantasy sports, but, “We never knew” it would be this big, Brandt said.
“When I was with the Packers, having a fantasy football draft was something I had to clear with the NFL,” he told NewsNation’s Adrienne Bankert on “Morning in America.” “They were like, ‘I don’t know about that.’ Now, it’s all changed.”
With sportsbooks now allowed mobile platforms, casinos are now trying to attract a younger audience, Brandt said.
“It’s on the move,” he said. “These casinos have been skewing older generations. They’re getting young people back with sports betting.”
While many people see the benefits of sports betting, there is a risk of people spending money they don’t have, Brandt said.
With sports betting’s popularity fueling some concerns about gambling addictions becoming more prominent, some states have set aside money for resources to help those affected.
What’s next for the future of the industry? Brandt said it’s live betting.
“In other words, what’s the next play? Is Tom Brady going to throw or pass or hand off? Is this going to be a strike or a ball?” Brandt said. “Once we get there, it’s the wild west.”