A football sits on a field after a practice. 

A football sits on a field after a practice.  Credit: James Escher

ALBANY – Mobile sports betting will go live in New York this week, beginning at 9 a.m. Saturday, the state’s Gaming Commission announced Thursday.

The commission gave the green light to four of the nine operators who have secured mobile betting licenses: Caesars Sportsbook, FanDuel, DraftKings and Rush Street.

The commission, in a statement, said the four "have satisfied all statutory and regulatory requirements necessary to accept and process mobile sports wagering activity and have been approved to commence operations with launch effective no earlier than Saturday, January 8, 2022 at 9 a.m. Eastern Standard Time."

The start time comes 7.5 hours before the kickoff of games on the NFL’s final regular season weekend.

Five other licensees – BetMGM, BallyBet, Resorts World, PointsBet and WynnBet – still are in the process of meeting regulatory requirements and will be launched when they do, the commission said.

The leading business lobby group in New York applauded Thursday’s announcement.

"The inception of legal mobile sports gaming in New York State is long overdue," the New York State Business Council said in a statement. "This multi-billion-dollar industry has been blocked in New York State for far too long, driving enthusiasts and revenues that should be in New York’s coffers to other states. Once up and running, New York will no longer be at a competitive disadvantage but instead able to generate the tax benefits from this thriving industry."

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The push for sports betting began after the U.S. Supreme Court in 2018 struck down bans on sports gambling. In 2019, New York began allowing sports betting – but only in person at upstate casinos.

Meanwhile, neighboring New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Connecticut moved faster to allow online betting before New York.

After a lengthy lobbying campaign, the State Legislature last spring approved a new law allowing the state to expand into the lucrative online market. At the time, officials predicted the state system would be up and running by the start of the NFL playoffs.

State officials have projected online sports wagering will eventually generate nearly $500 million annually in tax revenue because the law dictates the state will claim 51% of the companies’ gross revenues – one of the highest tax rates on gambling in the nation.

The companies also had to pay a one-time $25 million licensee fee and will pay a $5 million annual fee to casinos hosting their computer servers.

A 2021 study by the state Office of Alcohol and Substance Abuse Services said about 15% of those surveyed in New York were problem gamblers. The youngest age group, 18 to 24 years old, had the highest rate of problem gamblers: 25%.

The lottery far and away accounted for most wagering activity in New York: about two-thirds. Sports betting, previously limited to casinos, accounted for 5%.

Who can bet: Anyone 21 and older physically present in New York

When can betting start: Saturday at 9 a.m.

Which sportsbooks will launch: Caesars Sportsbook, DraftKings, FanDuel and Rush Street.

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