grand opening ceremony for Resorts World Catskills’ Sportsbook 360 took place on Thursday night.
The Monticello casino opened in February 2018, but the earliest it could have legally opened its sportsbook was around last May, following New York’s drawn-out journey to permit limited legal sports betting.
The casino operators are betting that their new sportsbook, located at the former Bar 360 on the main gaming floor, will be a hit long after Thursday’s festivities, which were tied to the NFL’s season opener.
New Yorkers approved a constitutional amendment in 2013 allowing for four upstate commercial casinos. That same year, the state Legislature passed a law giving the state Gaming Commission the ability to create sports betting rules, in case a federal ban on sports betting was ever lifted.
But New York’s Gaming Commission didn’t create rules till February, and the rules didn’t take effect till last spring. Even then, the state Gaming Commission only allowed sports betting at physical casino locations.
That’s because Gov. Andrew Cuomo contends a constitutional amendment is necessary to authorize sports betting via mobile device applications and websites, and at off-site locations outside of casinos such as Off Track Betting offices.
The state Legislature disagrees, with lawmakers believing they have the authority to expand sports betting. But, last term, only the state Senate passed a bill to do so.
With just on-site sports betting, sportsbook revenue alone will have a limited financial effect on Resorts World Catskills’ bottom line, Ryan Eller, CEO of casino parent Empire Resorts, has told the Times-Herald Record.
But casino leaders also have said they expect their sportsbook will lure additional foot traffic for more lucrative betting on slots and table games, plus additional spending.
In recent financial filings, casino leaders have said they’re considering negotiating a prepackaged bankruptcy with debtors and allowing Malaysian-Chinese casino magnate K.T. Lim, the casino’s largest shareholder, to take Empire private.
Partly due to a Northeast gambling glut, the company has averaged some $12 million in monthly losses since the casino’s opening.