On Monday, with little conversation, the New York State Gaming Commission (NYSGC) voted 6-0 to approve regulations for legal sports betting — on-premises only — at four Upstate New York casinos. The vote came after a required 60-day comment period on the proposed regulations.
Breaking: NYS Gaming Commission approves final regulations for sports betting at upstate casinos. Southernmost of these casinos is Resorts World Catskills. #SportsBiz
— John Brennan (@BergenBrennan) June 10, 2019
So when will this thing happen at the four locations, as well as at certain Native American casinos located in New York? Probably before football season, or at least that will be the goal of each of the individual properties, all of which have prepared to some extent for the passage of these regulations.
Legal NY sports betting but with limitations, drawbacks
First, how we got here: In 2013, lawmakers passed the Upstate New York Gaming Economic Development Act that made provisions for legal sports betting at four commercial casinos, in the event that federal law changed to allow for it. Of course, in May 2018 when the Supreme Court struck down the 1992 federal ban on sports wagering outside Nevada, the clause in the New York law was triggered. But sports betting is legal only for persons “physically present” in the casinos, meaning not on mobile devices or online.
The four commercial casinos are: del Lago Resort and Casino in Seneca County, Tioga Downs in Tioga County, Resorts World Catskills in Sullivan County, and Rivers in Schenectady County. Each of them has a partner to aid in the management and rollout of sports betting operations. They are:
- del Lago Resort and Casino: DraftKings Sportsbook (sportsbook already under construction)
- Tioga Downs: FanDuel Sportsbook
- Rivers: Rush Street Gaming (sportsbook already under construction)
- Resorts World Catskills: bet365
— Robert Harding (@RobertHarding) May 14, 2019
DraftKings currently operates retail a sportsbook in Atlantic City, N.J. (at Resorts Casino & Hotel) and in D’Iberville, Miss. (at Scarlet Pearl Casino Resort)
No doubt, sportsbooks will make a really nice addition for all of these properties (which have seen some struggles) and at three locations operated by the Oneida Indian Nation, which has partnered with Caesars Entertainment.
“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,” the Oneida Indian Nation announced on Monday.
The tribe announced that it will be hiring more than 60 people for the sportsbooks, as well as the hiring of Director of Sportsbook Operators Justin Arnett, who has extensive experience from Las Vegas.
“Our new sports books will exceed the already high standards of excellence that have established our venues as New York’s preeminent gaming destinations,” said Oneida Indian Nation Representative and Nation Enterprises CEO Ray Halbritter. “By bringing in a highly-experienced professional like Justin, who knows this industry inside and out, and through our partnership with Caesars, we will bring the best of sports betting to Upstate New York.”
Oneida outlines vision for Lounge with Caesars Sports concept: The Oneida Indian Nation has offered a taster of what sports bettors can expect when it opens the proposed new sportsbook facilities at its Upstate New York Turning Stone, Yellow Brick Road… https://t.co/x5F55LIcNe pic.twitter.com/DKpGHzLivN
— SBC NEWS (@SBCGAMINGNEWS) January 11, 2019
One highlight of the regulations includes the omission of an “official league data” requirement, which will allow the to-be operational sportsbooks to demonstrate like the multitude of the New Jersey-based sportsbooks that neither “official data” nor governmental intervention into commercial free choice is necessary. The pro leagues didn’t go down quietly on that point.
Each of the properties will need to obtain necessary licensure and approvals from the NYSGC, which will require standard testing phases. It’s not yet clear how this process will work and how long it will take, but football season remains the goal.
What can patrons expect to find at the sportsbooks? Each will have its own flavor, but consider what del Lago will be offering, per NYup.com:
Del Lago will operate the sportsbook in partnership with DraftKings, the Boston-based daily fantasy sports company. It will be a 6,000-square-foot bar/restaurant setting, where fans can watch games on high-definition LED terminals or on the floor-to-ceiling, video display walls. Players place wagers at 20 self-service betting kiosks or at one of the DraftKings cashier stations. Monitors provide continually updated odds and updates, allowing for in-game wagers.
“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,” del Lago general manager Mark Juliano said.
Of course, del Lago is located in the sticks — between Rochester and Syracuse, N.Y., much, much farther for most New York residents than New Jersey, where scores of New Yorkers have already availed themselves of the opportunity to make legal wagers. Resorts World Catskills is at least a much shorter trip from major population centers in Dutchess and Westchester counties, and of course it’s near the Catskill Mountains, a popular summer getaway for many New York City dwellers.
Meanwhile, state senator Joseph Addabbo continues to lead the effort to legalize sports betting proper in New York — with statewide mobile betting. The main hurdles remain questions about the state constitution and whether, as currently constituted, a ballot referendum is required to accomplish the goal of moving the illegal sports betting market into a regulated one. There’s still time to move S 17 to the finish line with a June 19 session end looming, but Governor Andrew Cuomo remains lukewarm to legal sports betting at best.