Nicki Minaj grabs a stake in the burgeoning sport betting industry
Award-winning rapper Nicki Minaj has signed a deal to become the global brand ambassador for the MaximBet online sportsbook. She will serve as an advisor to MaximBet as it bids to take on established rivals such as FanDuel, DraftKings, BetMGM and Caesars. Minaj has also invested in the privately-owned online sportsbook, while she is now the creative director of Maxim magazine too.
“I don’t think I've ever been prouder of a collaboration,” said the Trinidadian songwriter, who has sold more than 100 million records worldwide. “Merging business savvy power moves with my natural, creative, sexy, fun, and fashion-forward expression is just so spot on as it relates to this partnership. I’m ready to fully step into my potential as a young, influential Queen, and owner and open doors for others to dream big. Get ready for the sexy parties and remember: scared money don’t make NO MONEY!!!! HA!!! Place your bets!!!! Let's GO!!!”
Minaj boasts 280 million followers across her various social media channels. She is the most followed rapper on Instagram. Only 17 people in the world have more followers than her on that platform. She will leverage this follower base to boost brand awareness of MaximBet in future. Minaj will also serve as a special advisor to the MaximBet board of directors, and she will be “actively involved in the company's ambitious plans for iGaming,” according to the firm.
Applying Savvy and Creativity to Proceedings
A company called Carousel Group owns MaximBet. It initially launched a brand called SportsBetting.com in Colorado towards the end of 2020, using proprietary technology. That did not really take off, so the team tied up a deal with Maxim, the men’s magazine, and rebranded it as MaximBet. It is still only available in Colorado, but it has secured market access deals for 11 additional states, plus Ontario in Canada. The sportsbook will no longer run on proprietary technology in future, as the company has appointed white-label provider Kambi to power its online sportsbook.
MaximBet founder and chief executive Daniel Graetzer said: “Nicki is best known around the world as a mega superstar, but we know her as a brilliant businesswoman. Her role as a strategic advisor to MaximBet will be invaluable to us. She’s built one of the most powerful brands in the world, her own, and she’s applying that same savvy and creativity to our lifestyle sports betting brand. I couldn’t be more excited to be working with her – she is creative, smart, passionate and bold. There is no one better suited to helping us take this form of entertainment mainstream.”
New York Breaks Tax Record in Less than Five Months
In other news, Governor Kathy Hochul announced that New York has already taken a record-breaking tax haul from its nascent online sports betting industry. The state’s first online sportsbooks were rolled out in January, and New York has generated more than $263 million in tax revenue in less than five months of trading. It has now earned more tax dollars than any other state in the country, exceeding Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
Online sports betting has been up and running in Pennsylvania for more than three years, but the state has only collected $253 million in that time. New Jersey has generated $229 million in tax revenue since June 2018. New York has now surged past both states, and it will continue to pull away in the future. It has also collected $25 million licensing fees from each of New York’s eight online sportsbooks, which added a further $200 million to the state’s coffers. The funds will be reinvested into elementary and secondary education and grants for youth sports programming, along with problem gambling prevention, treatment, and recovery services.
“These numbers further prove that New York's gaming industry is robust thanks to the implementation of effective gaming regulation and the actions of responsible sports wagering operators,” said Gov. Hochul. “The results – hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue in less than six months of operation – speak for themselves.”
Eye-Watering Tax Obligations
The sheer size of New York’s sports betting market has helped it quickly outpace the likes of Pennsylvania and New Jersey. However, it is also down to the huge tax liabilities faced by sportsbooks that want to do business in the Empire State. In New Jersey, operators pay a 14.25% tax rate on revenue. Pennsylvania sportsbooks must pay 36% – one of the highest rates in the country – but they are permitted to deduct promotional spend before paying tax on the remaining revenue.
In New York, sportsbooks must hand over 51% of their revenue in taxes. They are also unable to deduct promotional spend before paying the tax, so the large welcome bonuses and ongoing promos they provide are very costly. When you add in the $25 million licensing fees they had to pay, it is hard to see them making a profit any time soon. Yet more than 2.7 million player accounts have been created since January, according to GeoComply, and there is a great deal of potential in the industry.
“No Longer the Broken-Down, Wobbly-Wheeled Car”
Lawmakers are delighted by the progress the state has made, State Senator Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr., chair of the Senate Racing, Gaming and Wagering Committee and the driving force behind legalizing online sports betting, said: “New Yorkers have proven that we were ready for sports betting, including its mobile component, and we are no longer the broken-down, wobbly-wheeled car in the right lane watching other states pass us by, but are now the shiny, revved-up sports car in left lane passing everyone else by.
“The fact that we have already surpassed all other states in revenue in less than six months is a testament to the quality of the dedicated work to provide a credible product for the residents of New York. This record amount of tax revenue is already being invested in our schools, our youth sports programs and New York’s problem gaming services. I look forward to an even brighter future for sports betting, working towards realizing even more funding and jobs for our state through gaming.”