Tioga Downs may accept its first sports wagers this week. According to local media, Tioga Downs may receive approval from the NY Gaming Commission as early as Monday.
Tioga Downs owner Jeff Gural told Binghamton New York News the tentative plan now is to hold a soft launch on Wednesday and a grand opening on Friday if the Commission does indeed give Tioga Downs the green light.
This is the second sportsbook to confirm its intention to launch in New York over the next week. It was reported last week that Rivers Casino Schenectady plans to launch its sportsbook on Tuesday pending approval from the NY Gaming Commission.
If everything goes well, New Yorkers may have their choice of two sportsbook by the end of this week.
Path is Clear for In-Person Betting
The NY Gaming Commission approved sports betting regulations in June to pave the way for local casinos to launch retail sportsbooks.
Tioga Downs reached a partnership agreement last year with Betfair US, parent company of FanDuel for retail and mobile betting. Under the agreement, Betfair US will provide Tioga Downs with everything needed to operate a functional sportsbook for both in-person and online wagering.
The FanDuel-branded sportsbook at Tioga Downs recently finished construction to convert the racing area into a full-fledged sportsbook. Tioga Downs sportsbook now features a full video wall and plenty of seating.
The sportsbook at Rivers Casino will be operated by its own parent company Rush Street Gaming. Rush Street Gaming already has experience in the New Jersey and Pennsylvania markets through SugarHouse and Bet Rivers.
All four of New York’s commercial casinos now have plans in place to pursue sports betting. Del Lago Resort & Casino has a deal in place with DraftKings and Resorts World Catskills has an agreement in place with international betting operator Bet365.
Del Lago and Resorts World are still mum on when they’ll be opening their own sportsbooks, but it probably won’t be much longer with Tioga Downs and Rivers about to be up and running. No casino will want to be left behind as the competition begins offering a new and highly sought-after product.
Tribal casinos will also be able to offer sports betting in New York thanks to gaming compacts that allow the tribes to offer any form of gaming approved for commercial casinos. Numerous tribal casinos also have deals in place with major sports betting operators such as Caesars Entertainment and The Stars Group.
Mobile Betting Still a Work in Progress
While retail sports betting has been a fairly easy thing to get done, mobile betting has been a bit more difficult. There is obvious demand there among residents and legislators alike. According a report from early this year, NJ betting sites have found roughly 10% of their customers actually come from New York to place wagers.
Most lawmakers also seem sympathetic to mobile betting, but Governor Cuomo and some other top Assembly democrats are steadfastly opposed.
Assemblyman Gary Pretlow told the NY Post last month that key assembly members are siding with Cuomo in the belief that legalizing mobile betting requires an amendment to the state constitution. Doing it that way would add years to the timeline for legal sports betting in New York.
However, Pretlow also told the NY Post he believes he has the votes needed to pass legislation to authorize mobile betting without a constitutional amendment. The final remaining hurdle is getting Governor Andrew Cuomo and his key allies in the Assembly on board.
The New York Senate approved a bill last month that would have legalized mobile betting by an overwhelming vote of 57-5, but the bill stalled in the Assembly through the end of the legislative session.
S 17D would have authorized mobile betting and established a two-tier tax rate that would have charged a 12% tax on mobile sportsbooks and 8.5% on retail sportsbooks. Even though that effort failed, some online operators have already reached deals with local casinos that include online betting if and when it is legalized in NY.