ivers Casino & Resort in Schenectady hopes that the New York Gaming Commission will sign off on its sports betting license by July 16 --and that no other casino will beat them to it, becoming the first casino in the state to take a legal wager on a sporting event.
Rivers began construction on its sports betting lounge in May, with the goal of opening before this fall's NFL season in September.
The race has been on to open New York’s sportsbook since the gaming commission approved in June rules and regulations for licensing, opening and operating sports betting facilities across the state. That makes it the 14th state to legalize some form of sports betting since the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that struck down last year a federal ban on sports betting outside Nevada.
Tuesday, July 16, the first #sportsbetting destination in New York State will be opening right here at @RiversCasino_NY!! ⚾️⚽️⛳️ Pending N.Y.S. Gaming Commission Approval #GameOn #RiversSportsbook #RiversNYSportsbook pic.twitter.com/ctUctup5fj— Rivers Casino & Resort (@RiversCasino_NY) 12 de julio de 2019
As reported by New York Upstate, eight sportsbooks are now under development across Upstate New York -- four at commercial (non-Indian) casinos; three at Oneida Indian Nation casinos in Central New York and one at a Mohawk nation casino in northern New York. Other sportsbooks could be located at three casinos operated by the Seneca Nation of Indians in western New York, but plans for those have not yet been announced.
In addition to Rivers, the other commercial casinos working to open sportsbooks are del Lago Resort Casino near Waterloo in the Finger Lakes; Resorts World Catskills near Monticello in Sullivan County; and Tioga Downs west of Binghamton in the Southern Tier.
State Gaming Commission spokesman Brad Maione said Friday all four commercial casinos have started the process but none have yet been approved. He said there is “no formal timeline” for approval.
Under the existing rules and state law, sports bets can only be taken within sports lounges physically located in one of the four full-service casinos that have opened Upstate in the past 2 1/2 years. Under gaming compacts with the state, the three Indian nation that operate full-service casinos Upstate can offer any games allowed at the commercial casinos, including sports bets.
State law does not allow online sports betting through smartphones or other devices. It also prohibits bets on New York college teams (such as Syracuse University) or on any college sports event held in the state.
The Rivers Sportsbook will offer bets on events including professional football, basketball, baseball, hockey and soccer, and on non-New York college sports. Betting can include wagers on the outcomes of games, plus in-game wagers. There will straight bets and parlays.
The Rivers Sportsbook is located next to the Van Slyck Lounge, just off the casino’s main gaming floor. It occupies 5,000 square feet and is billed as “a luxury-styled sports lounge.” Chairs and table seating accommodates about 80 people. There is also VIP seating.
The lounge includes a 53- by 9- foot LED video wall, plus 22 additional TV monitors. It has 14 betting kiosks, and 6 staffed betting windows.
Rivers is at 1 Rush Street, along the Mohawk Harbor near downtown Schenectady. It offers slots, table games and poker, plus an array of restaurants and entertainment.