The sports books -- betting lounges -- are under construction. The rules have been approved.
The next step: By this summer, you should be able to put your money down on the outcomes and action on football, baseball, basketball, hockey, auto racing, soccer and other major sports.
The New York Gaming Commission today unanimously approved rules and regulations for licensing, opening and operating sports betting facilities across Upstate New York.
The proposed state rules prohibit bets on New York college teams or college events in the state.
That makes New York the 14th state to legalize some form of sports betting. Thirteen states have done so since a May 2018 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that struck down a federal law that had effectively limited sports books to Nevada.
Most estimates say the New York sports books should be operating by about Aug. 1 -- ahead of the upcoming football season.
The rules approved today at the commission’s meeting in New York City have some limits: Players can only make bets in person in the sports lounges at the state’s four new commercial (non Indian nation) casinos, or potentially at the region’s seven full-service Indian nation-owned casinos. Bettors are also prohibited from placing wagers on New York college teams, or on collegiate events taking place within the state.
State lawmakers are working on some bills to revise the rules -- most significantly a proposal to allow online betting through mobile devices or home computers. But that must be approved by June 19, when the 2019 state Legislature session ends for the year, and win approval from Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
Those changes appear unlikely this year: Cuomo, for example, has indicated he believes online gambling would require an amendment to the state constitution, a process that could take two to three years.
The four commercial (non-Indian) casinos that would be allowed to host sports books are Resorts World Catskills in Sullivan County; del Lago Resort & Casino near Waterloo in the Finger Lakes; Tioga Downs west of Binghamton in the Southern Tier, and Rivers Casino & Resort in Schenectady. Some of those lounges are already under construction.
The Oneida Nation has started construction on its lounges, to be located in its big Turning Stone Resort Casino in Verona and the Point Place Casino in Bridgeport, and later in the Yellow Brick Road Casino in Chittenango. The Senecas and Mohawks have not yet announced their plans.
Del Lago general manager Mark Juliano said the exact timetable for applying for and obtaining a license to operate is still a bit uncertain.
“But we have been tracking with (the state), keeping them aware of what we’re doing,” he said. He believes that communication should help the licensing process proceed smoothly.
“We think it’s going to be an exciting place for our visitors to watch games, have some food and beverages and take advantage of the ability to bet on the action,” Juliano said.
The Oneida Nation, meanwhile, today announced it has hired Las Vegas sports betting veteran Justin Arnett as director of sports book operations at its three casinos. He has mostly recently managed racing and sports books at The Venetian, The Palazzo and Lagasse’s Stadium in Las Vegas.
The Oneidas are partnering with Vegas-based Caesars Entertainment to operate the sports lounges, which will also feature bar and restaurant service in addition to betting.
-- Tioga Downs: British company Paddy Power Betfair, and its daily fantasy sports arm, FanDuel Sports
-- Rivers Casino & Resort: Rush Street Gaming, its Chicago-based parent company.
But Upstaters are more likely to oppose digital betting than those in New York City or suburbs.