• A 2013 voter referendum legalized four upstate casinos to offer sports betting.
  • The release of the draft rules starts a 60-day review for public comments.
  • The casinos are already acting on the groundwork to launch their sportsbook.

NEW YORK – With the draft rules for sports wagering being released by the New York State Gaming Commission on Wednesday, the countdown for legal sports betting in New York has officially begun.

The draft reflects the original plans that were discussed at the Gaming Commission meeting on Jan 28 and now are under review for public comment for 60 days. The May 20 deadline should have casinos offering sportsbooks by the summertime.

Inside the rules include the ability to wager on professional and collegiate sporting teams and events. However, no betting lines will be offered on in-state collegiate programs, regardless of where they are playing. Betting on horses would remain the focus of racebooks, as the casinos would not be able to offer lines on the ponies either.

The commission must approve what sports can be wagered on and Rivers Casino is looking to offer the house. If approved for a license, the casino’s acting GM, Justin Moore, would like to see boxing, soccer, and golf also added to the list of acceptable sports.

“It’s very exciting to be able to bring sports fans and sports bettors into the casino to place legal wagers for the first time. I’d like to be up and running within 90 days.”

This certainly is high hopes for Rivers Casino, who are required to build out an area separate from the casino floor for a sportsbook lounge, per the commission’s draft rules.

The gaming establishment is wasting no time as their plans are already being discussed and put to work. Filled with betting windows that are both automated and staffed with cashiers, the lounge will feature large-screen TVs that will “show as much sports as we can.”

Rivers won’t have to do much research and development as their sister casinos in Pennsylvania, under Rush Street Gaming, already provide sportsbook lounges with legal sports betting. Both the Sugar House Casino and Rivers Casino in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, respectively, have seen their combined handles reach $20 million and $15 million for the months of January and February of this year.

Both of the Pennsylvania casinos were open for operation during the Super Bowl and will be for March Madness as well. New York will have to miss out of the two largest sporting betting events of the year this time around.

Not included in the proposed rules are any mention of mobile betting. Governor Andrew Cuomo has explicitly explained that permitted a mobile betting option would require a change in the constitution – a process that could take a few years, ultimately coming down to a voter referendum.

Even without mobile, the state is headed in the right direction and the casinos will not be subject to delays any further. In fact, DraftKings and del Lago Casino announced a partnership last year and we expect the other upstate New York casinos to pair with a sportsbook provider before the rules are officially approved.

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