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Legal sports betting launches in New York


The Rivers Casino & Resort in Schenectady has become the first licensed venue in New York to accept legal sports bets, six years to the month after land-based sports wagering was legalised in the state.

Casino representatives, local dignitaries and a number of sports stars were at the venue for the ribbon-cutting ceremony yesterday (July 16). Former NFL American football players Sean Landeta and Erik Coleman were among those in attendance.

The new Rivers Sportsbook occupies just over 5,000 square feet, with club chairs and table seating for 80 guests and five private booths with TV monitors – each of which can accommodate six people. The lounge also includes 18 individual VIP seats and 32 table-top seats.

Other features at the facility include a giant LED video wall in the viewing area, as well as 22 additional TV monitors, 14 betting kiosks and six staffed betting windows.

Rivers Casino partnered with Rush Street Interactive to develop the sportsbook, with the land-based and online sports betting operator serving as the casino’s sports wagering supplier.

“Many people worked very hard to make legal sports wagering a reality in New York State, and we thank all of them for their tireless efforts and dedication,” said Rivers Casino & Resort general manager Justin Moore, pictured (right), with Rush Street Gaming CEO Greg Carlin (podium) and Schenectady Mayor Gary McCarthy (centre).

“Sports fans and bettors from across the Capital Region and beyond will be thrilled with our new state-of-the-art Rivers Sportsbook lounge. We look forward to having them as guests at Rivers Casino & Resort and the City of Schenectady.”

McCarthy also spoke positively about the launch, saying the opening will be a major boost for the region and the state of New York as a whole.

McCarthy said: “The opening of Rivers Sportsbook will surely attract even more guests to the property and to our great city. Looking ahead, we are also hopeful that our leaders in Albany will see how hard Rivers Casino is working to keep up with growing regional competition and recognize how important it is for them to address structural tax disadvantages in the market.”

Tioga Downs in Nichols is set to follow Rivers Casino & Resort in opening a land-based sportsbook, with the venue due to launch its own service later today (July 17).

Tribal gaming operator the Oneida Indian Nation also plans to enter the state’s sports betting market, launching its new Caesars Entertainment-powered sportsbook at two properties on August 1, with a third to follow in September.

Land-based sports betting was legalized in New York via a 2013 law permitting new commercial casinos in upstate areas. Though the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) was still in place at the time, the bill included an amendment to give New York the right to regulate wagering should it be struck down.

Rules approved by the state Gaming Commission in June permitted casinos in the state to take bets on sports in their facilities. However, mobile betting remains illegal after a bill from Senator Joseph Addabbo failed to pass the Assembly.

Casinos that opt to launch a land-based service will pay a 10% tax on sports betting revenue.