ivers Casino & Resort Schenectady officially launched legal sports betting in New York State with the opening of its new Rivers Sportsbook lounge on Tuesday.
“We’re so proud to be the first gaming operator in New York to take legal sports bets,” said Rivers Casino & Resort General Manager Justin Moore. “Many people worked very hard to make legal sports wagering a reality in New York State, and we thank all of them for their tireless efforts and dedication. Sports fans and bettors from across the Capital Region and beyond will be thrilled with our new state-of-the-art Rivers Sportsbook lounge. We look forward to having them as guests at Rivers Casino & Resort and the City of Schenectady.”
Rivers is the first of the four upstate gambling parlors to roll out legal sports betting following the PASPA’s repeal. Casino representatives, guests, and area dignitaries gathered at Rivers Casino on Tuesday to cut the ribbon on the state’s first legal sports betting location. Opening Day of the sportsbook also included appearances by Super Bowl Champion and former New York Giants punter, Sean Landeta; Pro-Bowl safety and former New York Jet, Erik Coleman; and World Series MVP, New York Yankee great, Bucky Dent.
“We couldn’t be happier for our great community partner Rivers Casino & Resort,” said Schenectady Mayor Gary McCarthy. “It is indeed an historic day not just for the state of New York, but for the City of Schenectady. As Rivers Casino grows, so does its positive impact on our community. The opening of Rivers Sportsbook will surely attract even more guests to the property and to our great city. Looking ahead, we are also hopeful that our leaders in Albany will see how hard Rivers Casino is working to keep up with growing regional competition and recognize how important it is for them to address structural tax disadvantages in the market.”
Present on Tuesday were Gary Pretlow, D-Yonkers, chairman of the Assembly Racing and Wagering Committee; and Joseph Addabbo Jr., chairman of the Senate Racing, Gaming and Wagering Committee, both closely involved for years in the state’s long-evolving regulatory stance on gambling.
One of the first legal sports bets made in New York was a $20 gamble on a team from Seattle. Assemblyman Pretlow placed the bet on the Mariners. “This is a big first step for New York,” he said, according to the New York Daily News. “It’s a good first step and it’s going to show that sports betting is viable.”
The new Rivers Sportsbook, which was designed by DMAC Architecture of Chicago, is a luxury sports lounge and occupies just over 5,000 square feet. Club chairs and table seating accommodate approximately 80 guests and include five private booths with TV monitors – each accommodating up to 6 people. The lounge also includes 18 individual VIP seats and 32 tabletop seats.
Rivers Sportsbook has a 53’ x 9’ LED video wall that anchors the sportsbook viewing area, along with 22 additional TV monitors. The sportsbook also includes 14 betting kiosks and 6 staffed betting windows to accommodate guests. Rivers Sportsbook is located directly off the casino’s main gaming floor – adjacent to Van Slyck’s lounge.
Rivers Sportsbook will offer betting on a wide array of sporting events including professional football, basketball, baseball, hockey, soccer, college sports and more. Bets are expected to include, but not be limited to, straight bets, parlays, totals, and in-game betting. Wagers can be placed at the betting counter with a live sportsbook writer during Rivers Sportsbook hours of operation or at a sports betting kiosk 24 hours a day.
Rivers Casino’s sports wagering supplier is Rush Street Interactive, a gaming company that develops and operates real-money in-casino and online sportsbooks. It will bring the same high quality in-casino sportsbook solution to Rivers Casino & Resort Schenectady as players in the state of Pennsylvania have been enjoying since 2018. The company provides its in-casino sportsbook service to the top two performing retail sportsbooks in the state of Pennsylvania; Rivers Casino Pittsburgh and SugarHouse Casino in Philadelphia collectively account for over fifty-percent of all retail sportsbetting handle in the state since the market opened.
Recently recognized as the number one tourist destination in the Capital Region, the sportsbook lounge will complement the amenities already offered by Rivers Casino & Resort Schenectady. Sports bettors and fans alike will also be able to experience top entertainment, premium dining, and The Landing Hotel – Rivers’ luxurious riverfront hotel.
There is a $5 minimum wager amount and all bets are cash only. Betting sheets with odds will be printed and available at Rivers Sportsbook. Must be 21 years of age or older to access the gaming floor and wager at Rivers Sportsbook.
The state voted in 2013 to allow sports betting should the high court ever reverse the ban — but it still took more than a year before Albany let risk-takers lay down their first bets. Gaming is expected to get underway at Tioga Downs on Friday, though a spokesman said the casino hasn’t yet gotten the final approval from state regulators.
It was unclear when the other two approved casinos — Resorts World Catskills and the Del Lago Resort & Casino in Waterloo — would take their first bets. The state Gaming Commission has to inspect and sign off on their gambling facilities first.