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New York’s del Lago Resort and Manaslot88 Casino received approval in April to reduce its number of slots and table games to make way for a sportsbook. On Monday, the New York Gaming Commission approved regulations to allow sports betting in the state. (Image: del Lago Resort)
The unanimous decision by the commissioners came with no debate nor discussion. The vote now opens the door for New York’s upstate casinos to seek licenses.
During a 60-day public comment period on the regulations, the commission received 19 comments with 80 specific recommendations. Many of those came from likely stakeholders, including sportsbook William Hill US, Rivers Manaslot88 Casino and Resort, and Seneca Gaming.
The accepted recommendations were minor in nature, such as fixes to typographical errors.
The intention of these rules is to provide a solid regulatory structure that would enable the four facilities to become operational as soon as practical, with the idea that novel or unique concepts and ideas can be visited at a future date,” Robert Williams, the commission’s executive director, explained to the commissioners.
The four casinos are del Lago Resort and Manaslot88 Casino in Tyre, Resorts World Catskills in Kiamesha Lake, Rivers in Schenectady, and Tioga Downs and Manaslot88 Casino in Nichols. The commission’s decision also allows the state’s tribal casinos to apply for licenses.
Six years ago, the state passed a law that would allow casinos to offer sports betting if the US Supreme Court overturned the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act.
New York casinos will not be allowed to offer betting on any of the state’s college sports teams. The casino’s sportsbooks also will not be able to take bets on horse races.
Mobile betting is not currently allowed, either. Discussions are ongoing for that in Albany as state lawmakers consider a broader sports betting bill in the state. However, Gov. Andrew Cuomo has said in the past that he believes an amendment to the state Constitution is needed in order to allow mobile gaming in the state.
Neighboring New Jersey has allowed online gaming since last summer, and reports indicate that 80 percent of all mobile betting in New Jersey happens within 10 miles of its borders. Lindsay Slader, a vice president with geocaching firm GeoComply, added that roughly 50 percent takes place within two miles, indicating that many New Yorkers are hopping across the border to place their bets.
The commission’s regulations also do not require the casinos to purchase official league data. The major professional sports leagues have been lobbying states, including New York, in recent weeks seeking fees in exchange for granting sportsbooks with official game data.
New York has three additional casino licenses that it can award, and when those are approved, those casinos also will be able to offer sports betting. While several companies have indicated an interest in establishing casinos in or closer to New York City, Cuomo has been cool to those offers as well. He has said that no additional licenses will be approved until 2023, which would give the upstate casinos time to solidify their markets.
Work Already Underway
In April, the commission approved a proposal by del Lago, which is located about halfway between Rochester and Syracuse, to reduce the number of table games and slots so it could start work on a sportsbook lounge.
Similar requests were approved in March for Tioga Downs and Resorts World, which at 90 minutes away is the closest of the four upstate casinos to New York City.
In anticipation of the commission’s approval, casinos began forging partnerships with sportsbooks months ago.
Tioga Downs is owned by the same interests that own the Meadowlands Racetrack in New Jersey. FanDuel manages the Meadowlands sportsbook and will operate the one at Tioga Downs as part of the companies’ agreement.
DraftKings has established a partnership with del Lago, and bet365 will run the sportsbook at Resorts World.