New York Sports Betting Bids Bring Out Big Names, Like Jay-Z and Ben Affleck

Posted on: August 16, 2021, 08:28h. 

Last updated on: August 17, 2021, 12:24h.

What do Jay-Z and Ben Affleck have in common, besides being attached to two iconic entertainers? (That would be Beyoncé and Jennifer Lopez, by the way.) Both men are also referenced in bids for New York mobile sports betting licenses.

New York sports betting
Big-name entertainers Jay-Z (left) and Ben Affleck have their names attached to bids that were submitted last week for New York mobile sports betting licenses. Jay-Z is involved with newcomer Fanatics Sportsbook, while Affleck has directed commercials soon to air for WynnBET. (Images:

On Friday, the New York State Gaming Commission released additional information regarding the six proposals it received. In addition to identifying how many platform providers each bid contained, the commission also posted copies of each applicant’s submission with proprietary and confidential information redacted.

Under the terms of the solicitation, the state will select a minimum of two platform providers, who will work with at least four sports betting operators. In most instances, companies involved in each bid are proposing to serve as both a platform provider and an operator.

Each platform provider will pay a $25 million license fee to the state if they are selected. The winning proposal will set the tax rate for the state, with state officials determining the final number of participants. Awards are expected to be made sometime after Dec. 6.

Fanatics, Jay-Z in Empire State of Mind

Of the two, Jay-Z has the more involved role in a sports betting proposal. He’s tied to a bid submitted by Malta-based technology provider Kambi that proposes offering Barstool Sportsbook and newly created Fanatics Sportsbook in the state. Fanatics is an online retail giant for sports apparel and merchandise.

Jay-Z, aka Shawn Carter, will have a leadership role by serving as the vice-chairman on the Fanatics Betting & Gaming Board of Directors. In addition, Roc Nation, an entertainment company Jay-Z founded, is a strategic partner in the venture.

Word of its interest in sports betting popped up earlier this year when it was reported that Matt King would leave as CEO of FanDuel to help Fanatics launch its product.

The New York proposal lists King as Fanatics Sportsbook’s CEO.

Wynn Bets on Affleck-Led Ad Campaign

Affleck isn’t in a leadership position. But he’s a key figure in a second proposal submitted by Kambi, which includes WynnBET, PointsBet, Empire Resorts, Caesars Sportsbook, and Rush Street Interactive (aka Bet Rivers).

The New York request for applications process allowed for the same company to offer or be involved in multiple applications.

WynnBET revealed in its part of the proposal that the Academy Award-winning Affleck will direct and star in a series of television commercials promoting its mobile app. The campaign will also feature NBA legendary big man Shaquille O’Neal as well.

Affleck, who turned 49 on Sunday, was seen at the Wynn Las Vegas resort back in June.

FOX5 reported he was in town shooting at the casino for an undisclosed project. Social media outlet Vital Vegas noted O’Neal was on the set, too.

While the Affleck tie-in is mentioned in the New York bid, it’s more likely to help Wynn in Massachusetts, where lawmakers are considering legalizing sports betting. Wynn has a massive resort in the Boston area, and Affleck grew up across from Boston in Cambridge.

About New York Sports Betting

The six proposals submitted all feature different players in the US sports betting market and each offers distinctive reasons for why New York should accept their bid.

Besides Kambi’s two bids, the other application featuring multiple operators and providers was a FanDuel-led venture with Bally Bet, BetMGM, and DraftKings. In addition, single bids were each submitted by Canadian-based operator theScore Bet, FOX Bet, and bet365.

In the coming days, will offer analysis on the bids and provide additional details from them.