New York Gaming Commission Delays RFA Release, Frustrating Potential Bidders

  • New York Gaming Commission Missed its July 1 Deadline for its RFA Release
  • Without RFA, Potential Bidders Struggle to Plan a Winning Bid Strategy
  • Key Bid Determinant Will be Tax Rate, with Gov. Cuomo Expecting 50% or Higher

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New York Gaming Commission Missed its July 1 Deadline for RFA Release

The New York Gaming Commission failed to release its request for application (RFA) on July 1, as promised, a delay that is frustrating to the potential online sportsbook contenders who will be bidding for one of the Empire State’s limited platform provider licenses.

Governor Andrew Cuomo officially made online sports betting legal back in April as part of the state’s upcoming budget legislation, using a similar model as New Hampshire with a limited-operator, government-bid structure that was opposed by most state lawmakers and the gaming industry in general.

Cuomo likens this model to the state lottery, “where we operate it, and we get the resources,” and promised to release a Request for Applications by July 1 in order to give potential bidders a clearer idea of how to prepare their proposals.

Under the legislation, the state will issue a Request for Applications (RFA) and must select at least two platform providers who must work with a total of at least four operators.

But already a full week past the July 1 deadline, that RFA release pledge has yet to be fulfilled.

Without RFA, Potential Bidders Struggle to Plan a Winning Bid Strategy

Potential bidders would be applying for “platform provider” bids and if they win it will cost them a $25 million licensing fee, but then the winners would turn around and subcontract out the customer-facing aspects of the business to brands more popular with the public.

For instance, say a global provider like Flutter Entertainment’s proposal is selected, then they would use their popular FanDuel and FOX Bet brands to interface with their customers who are interested in placing sports bets.

This platform provider bid model gets complicated, especially since there are no others like in the United States right now, and without an RFA to clarify some of the unknowns that still exist in this bidding process, potential operators remain strategically clueless as how to map out their strategy.

One thing is certain, and that’s that this model will demand some of the nation’s highest fees and tax rates.

Key Bid Determinant Will be Tax Rate; Gov. Cuomo Expects 50% or Higher

Gov. Cuomo has made some lofty projections as to how much tax revenue this model will bring to New York, telling the press that he expects bidders to agree to at least a 50% tax rate and hopes that this venture will earn $500 million in direct tax revenues for the state.

These substantial fees could no doubt limit many operators from reaching their own revenue goals, which will keep this competition for New York licenses limited to just the big names.

Once the RFA is finally released, applicants will have 30 days to submit their bids, then the gaming commission would have 150 days to select the winners, all of which could take until December to happen, which means New York bettors will miss out on the 2021 NFL season.

Throughout this semi-confusing process, though, Gov. Cuomo has remained steadfast with his goals, telling the press:

I’m not here to make casinos a lot of money. I’m here to raise funds for the state. So, we have a different model for sports betting.

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Mike Lukas

Expert on NFL

Mike Lukas is a retired standup comedian turned freelance writer now living in Dallas, Texas, originally from Cleveland, Ohio. His love for the game of football and all things Cleveland Browns turned Mike into a pro blogger years ago. Now Mike enjoys writing about all thirty-two NFL teams, hoping to help football gamblers gain a slight edge in their pursuit of the perfect wager. Email: [email protected]