New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Tuesday that he wants to see upstate casinos be able to start offering sports betting in 2019, including the issue as part of his annual State of the State address.
The casinos would be allowed to offer sports betting thanks to language that was included in the constitutional amendment that initially authorized the resorts in 2013.
Regulatory Framework Needed for Betting to Begin
Once the Supreme Court overturned the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act last May, that opened the door for the casinos to start taking bets. However, the New York State Gaming Commission must first issue regulations for the industry, something they have yet to do.
In his speech, Cuomo briefly talked about that issue, urging regulators to help the casinos by allowing them to open their sportsbooks.
“We invested in upstate casinos. Let’s authorize sports betting in the upstate casinos,” Cuomo said. “It’s here. It’s a reality, and it will help generate activity in those casinos.”
Online Wagering Not Included
There are currently four commercial casinos in upstate New York: the Del Lago Resort in the Finger Lakes, Tioga Downs in the Southern Tier, Rivers Casino in Schenectady, and Resorts World Catskills. Under current New York law, the casinos would be allowed to offer in-person betting once a regulatory framework is put into place.
However, this plan would not allow for mobile or online betting. The language in the constitutional amendment that authorized the casinos does not allow for mobile wagering, meaning another amendment would be necessary in order to expand betting beyond the brick-and-mortar casino locations. Given New York’s process for amending its constitution, the earliest that could occur would be 2021.
Still, resort owners say sports betting could bring in customers who aren’t currently making trips to their casinos.
“It will create a new energy, and we know for sure they’ll spend money on food and beverage and we think they’ll probably try their luck in the casino,” Tioga Downs owner Jeff Gural told the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle. “I think it’s going to be a big help for the four of us. We’re very appreciative that the governor said that.”
Tribal Casinos Will Also Benefit
All four casinos in upstate New York have already reached agreements with operators to run sportsbooks at their facilities. That includes both DraftKings – which has partnered with Del Lago – and FanDuel, which will supply services to Tioga Downs. Resorts World Catskills has signed a deal with Bet365, while the Rivers Casino will work with Rush Street Interactive.
In addition, any authorization of sports betting at commercial casinos will allow New York’s tribal casinos to offer the same services. Tribes have already begun preparing for that possibility, with the Oneida Indian National signing a deal with Caesars Entertainment earlier this month.