The month of July is always going to be the weakest time for sports betting in most of the USA. Basketball, football and hockey are out of season, and while there are still Major League Baseball games to bet on, the month is broken up in the middle by the All-Star break. While a prestigious time for the game itself, the showpiece event isn’t exactly a betting bonanza, and it means fewer games in the regular calendar.
All of this taken into account, it’s not a cause for concern that New York state’s Gambling Commission revealed that the monthly takings for the industry dropped below $1 billion for the first time. July 2022 saw a take of $800.8 million in total, which is actually a fairly good income considering the relative paucity of events to bet on. And with the NFL season now just a few weeks away, the number is likely to start going back up from August onwards – with possible amendments to the state’s betting legislation likely to garner further increases.
To put the small drop into perspective, it is worth looking at the tax revenue from betting for the tax year to date. State budget officials forecast a take this year of up to $357 million, which goes directly to public education in the state. Through the first four months of the year, the take was $188 million. To put it another way, in one-third of the calendar year the betting tax revenue for the state reached more than half of its target – and there is a full NFL and College Football season still to come. With both of New York’s NFL teams expected to improve this coming season, that could result in higher takes still.
Taking those numbers into account, it remains within the bounds of possibility that betting tax revenue for the state in 2022/23 could yet outstrip $500 million. The white paper for sports betting in New York state had factored in a take of that size for 2024/25, so to hit it in this tax year would mean the plan was running two years ahead of schedule. Given that the opportunity for greater tax revenues is a key selling point of campaigns for regulated betting across the United States, the numbers being reported in New York are certainly helping to make the case.
One cloud on the horizon, however, could come from the general despondency over the future direction of the economy. With the cost of living crises developing in multiple countries, the USA is not unaffected by the prevailing economic forces, and lower consumer confidence could mean a gambling market being affected. How this plays out will remain to be seen, though, and one thing that is certain is that, up until this point, even those making the case for regulated betting in New York didn’t see it going anywhere near as well as it has.