Bovada, an online sports betting and poker room operator, is leaving New York, the company told its players in an email informing them it will cease operations in the state effective June 21, 2021.
Phase Out New York Players
The Costa Rica- based gambling firm told its New York players that due to the recent sports betting developments in the state, it decided to withdraw from the state and phase out players residing there.
Last month, New York took decisive steps to legalize online sports betting and mobile gaming by approving a model with 2 mobile sports betting platform providers which can partner with up to 4 mobile sportsbook operators. Despite its limitations, the model backed by Gov. Cuomo was the basis for provisions for revenue from mobile sports betting in the FY 2022 state budget.
Bovada explained to its current players from the state that they would be allowed to play with currently available funds, poker tournament tickets and bonus points until June 21, but should avoid events that are about to settle beyond that deadline, as any such bets would be considered void and the stake refunded.
The sports betting and poker room operator told players the deposit option has been removed and loyalty points have been converted into a cash bonus, but no further points can be earned. Cash rewards will be tied to rollover requirements.
Bovada also assured players from New York that there will be an early settlement for wagers on events or seasons that are already in progress, while affiliates will continue to get paid for customer activities until customer accounts are closed.
New York Betting Options Still Limited
Bovada’s decision to leave the state is a major blow to online players residing in New York as the operator established a name as a solid alternative to other available options which are currently limited to in-person betting at the upstate casinos.
The recent move backed by Gov. Cuomo fueled fears that online providers of sports betting and gaming that do not have a licensing approval issued by the New York State Gaming Commission will most likely have to face legal action.
Bovada has a history of taking precautionary measures against possible lawsuits, having withdrawn from operating in Delaware, New Jersey, Maryland and Nevada when these states passed similar regulatory regimes.
The legal developments will not change much of the sports betting landscape in New York, at least not in the foreseeable future and many specialists believe Bovada is way too cautious. The request for proposal is set to begin July 1, 2021 under the drafted regulation, followed by 150 days given to the state to approve licensees.
Further, licensed operators will have to deploy systems and test prior to launch, with the most optimistic timetable envisaging mobile sports bets availability in time for the Super Bowl in 2022, but even the slightest hiccup will push the launch date further down the road.
Still, the Black Friday poker crackdown in 2011 earned a name for New York as one jurisdiction willing to go after illegal gambling websites and Bovada elected for the safer bet.