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US – New York Governor makes push for sports betting

By - 17 January 2019

New York’s Governor Andrew Cuomo has said he will be pushing to get sports betting up and running at the state’s four upstate casinos.

Speaking at his State of the State address, Governor Cuomo said: “We invested in upstate casinos. Let’s authorise sports betting in the upstate casinos. It’s here, it’s a reality, and it will help generate activity in those casinos.”

New York’s four upstate casinos are the del Lago Casino in the Finger Lakes, Resorts World Catskills in Thompson, Tioga Downs Casino in the Southern Tier and Rivers Casino & Resort in Schenectady.

Sports betting’s speed to market could be quick with New York state already approving an existing law, passed in 2013, that allows sports betting on a limited basis at the authorised casinos.

Governor Cuomo’s Budget Director, Robert Mujica said that expanding sports betting beyond a casino, as in online gaming or racino betting, would contravene the state constitution.

“If we want to expand it anywhere else but the land-based casinos, including online you need a constitutional amendment,” Mr. Mujica explained. “That’s a separate conversation.”

The upstate casinos are keen to get involved.

Ryan Eller, CEO of Empire Resorts, which runs Resorts World Catskills, said: “We look forward to offering sports betting once the New York State Gaming Commission promulgates regulations.”

It already has an agreement in place with bet365 to run its future sports book. Elsewhere, del Lago has teamed up DaftKings, Tivers Casino with Rush Street Interactive and Tioga with FanDuel.

Jeff Gural, owner of Tioga Downs Casino, added: “It will bring people into our facilities. 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. I think it’s going to be a big help for the four of us. We’re very appreciative that the governor said that.”

New York’s tribal casinos also want a slice of the sports betting action. The Oneida Indian Nation, which runs the Turning Stone, Yellow Brick Road and Point Place casinos in Central New York, has already stressed it will offer sports betting as soon as the private casinos do, arguing that their gaming compacts allow them to offer any games that are allowed at the private casinos.

The Senecas also operate three casinos in Western New York in Seneca Niagara Casino in Niagara Falls, Seneca Allegany Resort in Salamanca and Seneca Buffalo Creek but have not made their intentions on sports betting known yet.

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