There’s not only a diversity issue in issuing cannabis licenses, but it appears the same is plaguing online sports betting.
Despite representing more than 17% of the New York population, the New York legislature is trying to push through an amendment giving minorities an equal shot at licenses.
The latest uproar occurred when well-funded Fanatics board member and vice-chair, entertainment mogul Jay-Z, were denied a license.
NY statewide politicians and the Mayor’s Office of Minority and Women-owned Business Enterprises (M/WBE) have spoken out about the minority gaming licensee deficit. The amendment in the works would potentially allow Jay-Z and Fanatics another shot at obtaining a license to operate in New York City.
“I have been pushing for minority participation from the beginning. The way that the rollout was designed by Governor Cuomo, it kind of eliminated everyone except for the big players,” Assemblyman Gary Pretlow told the New York State Association of Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic & Asian Legislators. “Many people couldn’t afford a 51% tax on the gross gaming revenue, so what we wound up with was the larger entities in the business — FanDuel, DraftKings, Caesars, MGM, Rivers — the ones that have a strong foothold in the business.”
Pretlow followed up by introducing a bill amendment calling for New York state to go from nine online sportsbooks to no fewer than 14 by Jan. 31, 2023, and no less than 16 by Jan. 31, 2024. In addition, the group is demanding that at least two of the applicants be represented by minorities.
Fanatics, which is located in the city, wanted New York to be the first of its online sportsbooks and hired former FanDuel CEO Matt Kingt to run it potentially.
Because of its lack of progress in getting a gaming license, rumors persist that Fanatics is looking at a possible merger with WynnBet and possibly others.