Clarion’s third annual Sports Betting USA Conference kicked off today in New York City at Metropolitan West, a venue just minutes from Times Square. This sold out event attracted representation from every major league in America, New York politicians, media companies, operators, affiliates and other stakeholders in the regulated U.S. sports betting market.
Day one of Sports Betting USA included a robust conference session schedule, opening up with a keynote delivered by New York Senator Joseph Addabbo Jr. and New York State Assemblyman J. Gary Pretlow, two proponents of expanding regulated sports betting in New York. Both Senator Addabbo and Assemblyman Pretlow emphasized the need for mobile betting, otherwise tax revenue will be lost to New Jersey and the black market.
“That’s the problem we have in New York, that we’re losing a lot of our revenue to New Jersey who’s doing very well with [mobile betting]”, Senator Addabbo told CalvinAyre.com in an exclusive interview after the keynote.
“The idea here is how do we stop that flow of revenue out of our state and keep it here, increase the education funding because a proportion of our proceeds do go to education. Its about how doing the right thing by mobile sports betting here in our state”, he said.
“Our ultimate goal is to have state-wide or intrastate mobile sports betting. That’s where the money is. That’s where all the bets will be made”, added Assembleyman Pretlow.
“Right now the Governor, for whatever his reasons are, is kind of holding back. He still has questions on the constitutionality of mobile sports betting and I’m trying to convince him that his opinion is not correct and my opinion is correct but that’s usually difficult to do, but I think we’ll win out”, he said.
Both Assemblyman Pretlow and Senator Addabbo are confident 2020 will be a big year for sports betting in New York State, after spending much time with the gambling industry, the leagues and others in crafting a bill that meets everyone’s needs.
“What we really want to do is make a bill that will be the national model. It was stated earlier that every state has a different law. What we would really like to do is make a law in New York that is so good that every state will then follow that. That will be easier on all entities combined, but that’s something that’s in the works right now”, Assemblyman Pretlow told CalvinAyre.com.
Educating media companies on sports betting opportunities available to them has been a big focus here at Sports Betting USA, with many media companies located right here in NYC.
The Score is an example of an established sports media company – in fact the first one ever – that has successfully launched a sports betting app.
“We’ve always known that a high percentage of all the people who engage with us bet on sports, so it seemed unfulfilling for us just to become this super affiliate”, The Score’s CEO John Levy told CalvinAyre.com.
“We looked at the market and we said, ‘look, the best thing to do is go all-in’ and we said, ‘are we licensable’? Absolutely because we kept ourselves perfectly clean for the last 20 years, hoping and praying that sports betting was going to open up”, he said.
“We did a deal with Betworks that allowed us to do the backend technology, then we met Dennis Drazin of Monmouth Park and that got us our license in New Jersey and boom! Five weeks ago we launched in New Jersey and we are literally the only sports media company that’s actually the operator”, Levy added.
Every major league in the U.S. had representation here today and CalvinAyre.com was able to speak with Christopher Halpin, Chief Strategy and Growth officer for the NFL and Dave Lehanski, SVP of Business Development and Innovation for the NHL.
“Given our national scale, and how NFL fans are everywhere in the U.S. and we’re the biggest sport, we’ve got so many different points of focus when it comes to sports betting and legalization”, Halpin said.
“Talking to regulators and industry operators we want to make sure there is solid legislative structures for states that roll out, that protect consumers, that provide transparent markets…that it can be monitored and that we get the information about what’s happening in our game”, he added.
Halpin also shared with CalvinAyre.com the betting elements they are most focused on for their fans in an online/mobile product.
“There’s the pure product of a sports betting app that would have video integrated – we see this a lot in Europe – that’s going to be a digital product competition of who has the most engaging, intuitive, highest conversion app”, he said.
“But we’re also focused on more casual, lighter experiences and this has been a big part of the NFL informally for years, whether its things like super bowl squares or survivor pools” Halpin added.
“In states that legalize, there are increasingly going to be offerings to the more casual fan who wants to bet but is intimidated by some of the structures that are around major sports betting”, he said.
With three betting partners already in place, Lehanski revealed the NHL’s criteria for choosing the right betting partners and how the NHL contributes to the partnership.
“We want partners who are embracing that opportunity to work with us to develop new experiences and our role really over the last few years has been focused on data and infrastructure”, he explained.
“If we can put the infrastructure and the data in place that would allow [betting partners] to create these new experiences, so data that would allow them to create new bet types on things like speed and location”, Halpin said.
“We’re trying to do our part by investing in new technology solutions that will create an incredible amount of new data that we will give only to our partners to create these new experiences”, he added.