The Oneida Indian Nation entered the world of sports betting on Thursday when it launched a sportsbook and lounge at Turning Stone Casino in Verona, New York.
The tribal casinos gained the right to offer sports wagering once it began to be offered at commercial casinos in New York, which began when the Rivers Casino in Schenectady took its first bets on July 16.
Turning Stone Partners with Caesars
The opening ceremony for the lounge, which is being operated in conjunction with Caesars Entertainment, featured officials from both the casino and Caesars pressing down on a basketball, which started a video of the historic 24-second clock at Armory Square in Syracuse. The clock counted down to zero, signaling the opening of the new facility.
“Time and again, history is made right here at Turning Stone Resort and Casino,” ring announcer Jazz Securo said as the host of the ceremony. “This incredible new venue is made possible through a unique partnership between two heavyweight champions of entertainment and the gaming world.”
The Oneida Nation operates three casinos in upstate New York. Betting also began on Thursday at the Point Place Casino in Bridgeport, while the Yellow Brick Road casino in Chittenango is expected to start offering sports wagering in time for the start of the NFL regular season.
— Katrina Tulloch (@katrinatulloch) August 1, 2019
The ceremony featured a number of mascots and figures from local sports teams, including the Syracuse Crunch and Utica Comets, both minor league hockey teams.
But under the rules being used in New York – which also apply to the tribal casinos – gamblers won’t be able to put any money down on New York-based college teams, or any collegiate events that take place in the state.
That’s particularly notable for Turning Stone, as the resort is located less than an hour from Syracuse University, which has a perennial top 25 basketball program and a resurgent football team that posted a 10-3 record last year. In addition, there is no online sports betting available in New York.
First Bettor Gets Super Surprise
The first bet at the new sportsbook was placed by Peter Cantalupe, who put down $105 to back the Minnesota Twins to beat the Miami Marlins on Thursday night. He was then surprised to find that along with getting the honor of making the first wager, he would also receive two tickets to the Super Bowl.
But even guests who didn’t get prizes said they were impressed by the new sportsbook.
“I wanted to cry earlier because I am just so happy,” Utica resident Mina Irizarry said in a video report by Syracuse.com’s Katrina Tulloch. “And this establishment, how beautiful they made this: these seats, they’re just wonderful. And it just gives me another chance to lose my house, you know?”
Irizarry joked that with all the money coming in from sports betting, New York State could pay to have “the greatest roads in the United States.” But in reality, the state won’t receive a penny from the new lounge. The current agreement between the Oneida Nation and the state only requires the tribe to pay 25 percent of its slot machine revenue to state and county governments, with no payments required on revenues from table games, sports betting or other gambling sources.