New York casinos to launch retail sports betting this week


new-york-rivers-casino-sports-bettingNew York’s sports bettors will finally get the chance to wager in their home state this week, although they’ll have to travel upstate for the privilege.

Tuesday will see the launch of a new sportsbook at Rush Street Gaming’s Rivers Casino in Schenectady, while the Tioga Downs venue in Nichols is scheduled to soft-launch its sports betting operation the following day (with a grand opening this Friday). The Rivers sportsbook will be powered by tech provider Kambi while FanDuel will oversee Tioga Downs.

The state legislature approved regulations governing land-based wagering at the upstate casinos last month but neither Rivers nor Tioga have yet been formally issued betting licenses. However, each venue expects to have their diplomas in hand before their respective big days arrive.

The other two upstate commercial casinos—del Lago Resort & Casino (DraftKings) and Resorts World Catskills (bet365)—have yet to signal their go-live dates.

The state’s tribal gaming operators have the right to maintain product parity with their commercial cousins, and the Seneca Nation of Indians has signalled its intention to launch betting at its three casinos but has yet to offer any specifics on timing or the identity of its technology partner.

Not so for the Oneida Indian Nation, which announced Monday that it would open Caesars Entertainment-powered sportsbooks at its Turning Stone and Point Place Casinos on August 1, while the Yellow Brick Road Casino will follow at an unspecified date later this summer.

Last week saw the Saint Regis Mohawks announce a partnership with The Stars Group for the tribe’s Akwesasne Mohawk Casino Resort. That ‘first-skin’ deal covers not only retail betting kiosks but also online wagering, casino and poker products, should the day come when New York’s politicians prove themselves capable of approving much of anything. The Mohawks’ retail betting is expected to commence sometime this fall.

Meanwhile, the state of Indiana, which formally approved its wagering legislation in May, plans to launch its legal betting market on September 1. The Indiana Gaming Commission doled out 12 temporary betting ‘certificates’ last week that will allow select gaming venues to offer land-based wagering to start, with mobile wagering to start at some unspecified later date.

As for states that already have functional betting markets, the West Virginia Lottery reported that betting revenue totaled $377,552 in the month of May, a 148% fall from the previous month, while betting handle was down 13%.

This weekend, WV News quoted WV Lottery director John Myers referring to betting as “a pain in the butt,” largely due to the outsized expectations proponents and stakeholders raised prior to the legal betting market’s launch last August.

Myers noted that the Lottery did $1.14b in sales last year, while the first year of wagering will generate “close to $1.2m” in tax revenue for the state. Myers expressed doubt that betting would ever come close to the $5.5m annual tax remittance that was projected five years following legal wagering’s launch.

West Virginia’s numbers have been depressed by operator Delaware North’s legal fight with its betting technology supplier, which forced the suspension of wagering at the company’s two WV casinos and the state’s only active mobile wagering app in March.

DraftKings was supposed to have been ready to launch a mobile app for its Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races partner but the launch has yet to occur. Myers said testing was completed on the app in May but DraftKings is still tinkering with the product.