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New York awards mobile sports betting licenses; Oneida Indian Nation has a stake in the game

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Mobile sports betting should be in place in New York state by the upcoming NFL playoffs Super Bowl now that the State Gaming Commission has chosen the operators that are in line to receive licenses.

One of the two winning bids includes the Oneida Indian Nation as a “stakeholder.

The gaming commission today recommended two multi-operator group bids for the rights to the potential multi-million online sports betting business in New York. Together, the two groups represent nine operators who could win 10-year online sport betting licenses.

The two winning bids are:

· Primary applicant: Kambi (aka Sports Information Services), the European spots betting tech company. Partners: Caesars Entertainment, Resorts World, PointsBet, Rush Street Interactive, and WynnBET. More: This application includes both the Oneida and St. Regis Mohawk (Akwesasne) nations as stakeholders. Resorts World and Rush Street also have affiliation with two of Upstate New York’s private commercial casinos — Resorts World Catskills in Sullivan County and Rivers Casino & Resort in Schenectady respectively.

· Primary applicant: FanDuel, best known as a daily fantasy sports operator. Partners: DraftKings (which also started as a daily fantasy company), BetMGM, and Bally Bet. More: According to The Athleticthis group may include side deals with several professional sports teams, including the New York Yankees, the Buffalo Bills and the Buffalo Sabres. It may also include a media partnership with Yankee Entertainment and Sports Network (YES).

As expected, the state awarded two licenses for mobile sports “platforms” that maintain the hardware and software needed to process online bets. Each platform can partner with one or more operators, or “skins,” who offer the actual bets.

Each of the nine mobile sports betting operators will be taxed at a rate of 51% of gross sports betting revenue. Licenses will cost $25 million each.

The Oneidas have a stake in the first group via their ongoing partnership with Caesars to operate sports betting lounges at their three casinos in Oneida and Madison counties and their relationship with Wynn Resorts.

“We are pleased New York State followed through on its commitment to include Central New York in its mobile sports betting program,” the Oneidas said in a statement released after the winning bids were announced. “We look forward to working with our partners at Caesars Entertainment and Wynn Resorts to offer mobile betting to our guests early next year.”

The Oneidas’ participation in one of the proposals came as they attempted to protect the nation’s exclusive rights to offer gaming, including online betting, in a 10-county region of Central New York. Over the last year, nation officials have expressed concerns that the state’s plans could violate their gaming agreement, under which the Oneidas pay about $70 million a year to the state in return for their exclusive gaming rights in Oneida, Onondaga and nearby counties.

The nation agreed to waive its exclusivity if its group’s bid was selected.

In all, there were three group bids for New York sports betting, and three “solo bids.”

The applicants who failed in the bid process included a second group bid led by Kambi, which included Fanatics (a sports apparel and e-commerce business), and Penn Sports Interactive as partners. Penn Sports recently acquired a stake in the sports news/commentary site Barstool Sports, bringing that sometimes controversial company into the mix. And rapper Jay-Z has invested in Fanatics, leading to headlines about his potential association with New York sports betting.

The three failed solo bids were from FOX Bet, an sportsbook operator affiliated with the FOX Sports Network; theScore, a Canadian sports media and gaming company; and bet365, an online gaming company based in the United Kingdom.

State officials have said they believe New York’s entry into online sports betting industry could generate $99 million in tax and fee revenues in the first year (mostly through license fees), rise to $350 million by year two and $500 million per year in the future.

But New York’s model for online sports betting is a tightly controlled market, with a limited number of operators licensed by the gaming commission, rather than a more competitive market adopted in other states. Critics say the New York model could generate lower revenues than a more competitive one.

Don Cazentre writes for and The Post-Standard. Reach him at, or follow him at, on Twitter or Facebook.

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