ports wagering debuted Friday at the Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino, with Seneca Nation President Rickey Armstrong Sr. betting $40 on the Bills to beat the Steelers.
Plenty of other wagers followed Armstrong's, with customers able to bet on everything from hockey and football to basketball and mixed martial arts, but not horse racing, Buffalo News reports.
Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino repurposed a section of its property into the Sports Lounge, featuring TV screens filled with sports programming, and facilities for sports betting.
Legalized sports betting came to New York State this year, and now it has arrived in Buffalo, at the downtown casino. Seneca Gaming Corp. plans to add sports betting soon at its casinos in Niagara Falls and Salamanca.
Armstrong called the addition of on-site sports betting "monumental," but he said he still hoped for an expanded version of sports wagering.
"Brick and mortar [betting] is going to be substantial profit, but we're also waiting for (online betting) to come in, maybe next year through legislation," said Armstrong, dressed in a replica Sabres jersey with uniform No. 21.
Armstrong indicated that sports betting might be added at the nation's Salamanca casino next week and at the Niagara Falls casino the week after that. No specific dates were announced Friday.
Holly Gagnon, Seneca Gaming's CEO, declined to say how much additional revenue the three casinos expect to generate through sports betting. "I think we really expect for Buffalo to be much more active than some of the other markets [in the state] because Buffalo is such a great sports town," she said.
Rivers Casino and Resort in Schenectady reported gross gaming revenue from sports wagering of nearly $550,000 in November, and $1 million in October, according to the state Gaming Commission. That casino began taking sports bets in July; from July through November, sports bets accounted for about 3% of the Rivers Casino's total gross gaming revenue.
Across its three area casinos, Seneca Gaming is hiring more than 30 people to launch its sports betting operations. That figure is expected to increase.