NY Sports Betting Coming Soon with Gaming Commission Approval

Legal sports betting in New York took another step closer to becoming a reality on Monday. In a unanimous 6-0 vote, the state Gaming Commission approved rules which will allow in-person sports betting at four upstate casinos and seven Native American properties.

A standard 60-day comment period on the proposed regulations preceded Monday’s vote. Courtesy of Gaming.ny.gov, here is a snapshot of what was on the docket.

“For Commission consideration is the adoption of regulations to govern sports wagering in sports lounges at the four licensed commercial casinos. New York Racing, Pari-Mutuel Wagering and Breeding Law (“Racing Law”) section 1367 sets forth the statutory framework for sports gambling in New York and section 1367(3)(b) provides that sports wagering “shall be operated in a sports wagering lounge located at a casino.”     

Now that the green light has been given by the commission, the approved regulations will need to be posted in the State Register. From that point, the commission will need to individually approve the licenses for each of the four casinos.

The current timeline suggests that the official approval will happen over the summer. That means that the casinos in question could be ready to go just in time for NFL season, which just so happens to be the busiest time of the year for sportsbooks.

NY Sportsbooks at Commercial Casinos

So, which of NY’s casinos are included on the list of approved sportsbook locations? Let’s take a look at each.

del Lago Resort and Casino

This casino hotel is located in Tyre, which is in the Finger Lakes section of New York. It is operated by JNB Gaming under the ownership of Wilmorite and Peninsula Pacific. A 6,000-square foot DraftKings Sportsbook is already under construction at the property.

“We think it’s going to be an exciting place for our visitors to watch games, have some food and beverages and take advantage of the ability to bet on the action,” said del Lago general manager Mark Juliano.

The sportsbook will be operated by del Lago in partnership with Boston-based DraftKings, the daily fantasy sports giant which has made strides in the world of sports betting as well. The company already operates a pair of sportsbooks, one in Mississippi and one in Atlantic City.

Resorts World Catskills

Owned by Empire Resorts, this sprawling 65,000-square foot property is located in Kiamesha Lake. Last year, Empire Resorts announced that it had hitched its wagon to bet365 in anticipation of a favorable ruling to come on NY sports betting.

“This collaboration, which will enable Resorts World Catskills to be a leading destination for sports wagering in New York State, highlights our commitment to the continued growth of Resorts World Catskills, as well as our dedication to working with the best, most innovative pioneers in the industry to provide world-class gaming options,” Manny Pearlman, Executive Chairman of Empire Resorts, Inc. said at the time.

As part of the agreement, bet365 is slated to operate a retail sportsbook at Resorts. Once bet365 recoups its initial investment, profits are scheduled to be split 50/50.

Rivers Casino and Resort

Just outside of Albany is one of the newest casinos in all of New York State. Rivers Casino and Resort, part of the Chicago-based Rush Street Gaming family, opened in 2017 in Schenectady. The company is already advertising “Rivers Sportsbook” on its website as “coming soon.”

In a recent interview with Rotogrinders, acting General Manager Justin Moore shared some details on what’s to come.

“We’ll have our one big LED screen that’s over eight feet tall and goes across the entire main wall of our viewing area,” said Moore. “It gives us the flexibility to show three big screens or multiple screens at one time. It’s state-of-the-art technology and it’s going to really pop and draw people in from the casino floor.”

In addition to the forthcoming sportsbook, Rivers has the added draw of being the only casino in New York which offers off-track betting onsite.

Tioga Downs

This casino resort property is located in Nicholls. Tioga is known for an on-site harness racing track which has a calendar of races which stretches from May into September. It is privately owned by Jeffrey Gural, a New York-based real estate developer.

For the sportsbook, Tioga will be teaming up with FanDuel. The daily fantasy / sports betting giant operates locations at the Meadowlands in New Jersey and at Valley Forge Casino in Pennsylvania. FanDuel will be running the book at Tioga while working in tandem with the company.

“[It will be] very similar to what you see in Las Vegas, people have a designated sports book, and that’s where people will make their wages on any sport you can think of,” explained Tioga Downs marketing manager Jim Weed. “We’re just trying to stay ahead of it so when we finally do get those regulations and they say go here’s the green light, then we’re ready to go.”

Tribal Sportsbooks in NY

In addition to these four commercial properties, certain Native American casinos are also preparing to get into the game thanks to existing gaming compacts that allow tribal casinos to offer the same forms of gambling offered by commercial casinos.

“The all-new sportsbooks are slated to open at Turning Stone and Point Place this summer, with Yellow Brick Road opening later, as part of larger renovation project announced last week,” noted an announcement from the Oneida Indian Nation

Oneida has teamed up with Caesars Entertainment and Scientific Games for sportsbook operations. Oneida Indian Nation Representative and Nation Enterprises CEO Ray Halbritter is optimistic about what the future holds.

“Our new sports books will exceed the already high standards of excellence that have established our venues as New York’s preeminent gaming destinations,” Halbritter said.

Online Sports Betting in New York

While it looks like in-person wagering will be a go at these properties in New York, there’s still no word on when mobile sports betting may be allowed in the Empire State. The current legislative session in NY is scheduled to wrap up on June 19, but it is unclear if any headway will be made before then.

“Our lawyers say you can’t do anything on sports betting other than in brick and mortar casinos,” explained Commission member Jerry Skurnik.

The biggest hurdle for mobile betting in New York is whether or not authorizing it would require a voter-approved amendment to the state constitution. Governor Cuomo has also said he believes online sports betting would be tantamount to a gambling expansion, which can only be accomplished through a constitutional amendment.

However, some state lawmakers believe mobile sports betting may indeed be legalized with new legislation only. Voters have already authorized sports betting at local casinos, and it would be those same casinos managing any wagers placed online. Furthermore, online horse racing betting is already permitted in NY. Adding mobile sports betting to this landscape hardly seems like a totally new form of gambling requiring a constitutional amendment.

New Yorkers will be limited to betting on sports in person for now, but discussions regarding mobile betting are far from over.

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