The Empire State is the latest jurisdiction to join the legal sports betting bandwagon.

New York sports betting began this week with the launch of a retail sportsbook at Rivers Casino and Resort in Schenectady. The ribbon-cutting ceremony took place on Tuesday, and it was attended by several public figures, including politicians and athletes.

Assemblyman Gary Pretlow placed the first legal bet in the state, wagering $20 on the Seattle Mariners to beat the Oakland Athletics in their Wednesday matchup.

New York state senator Joe Addabbo and Schenectady mayor Garry McCarthy were also in attendance.

In his address, the Mayor said that the city couldn’t be happier for Rivers Casino and Resort, which he described as a great partner to the Schenectady community. McCarthy added that the casino’s growth would have a positive impact on the town, seeing that the opening of the Rivers Sportsbook would attract more guests to the city.

A look at the Rivers Sportsbook in Schenectady

The Rush Street Interactive-operated sportsbook at Rivers Casino boasts a 5,000-square-foot betting lounge with room for 80 people. The in-person wagering facility has six betting windows and 14 self-service betting kiosks.

The sportsbook will offer various bet types such as totals, straight bets, parlays, and in-play wagers. These betting markets will be available across professional and collegiate sports, including football, baseball, hockey, basketball, and soccer.

However, bettors in the state will not be able to place bets on college teams based in the jurisdiction, whether the tournament takes place within the precinct or outside.

The Rivers Sportsbook in Schenectady is powered by Kambi software.

FanDuel Sportsbook to launch at Tioga Downs, Nichols

Another upstate casino, Tioga Downs in Nichols, has also met the requirements of the New York State Gaming Commission, and it began its live testing period on Wednesday.

The official launch of the FanDuel Sportsbook is scheduled for July 19, with a ribbon-cutting ceremony. The occasion will be graced by assemblywoman Donna Lupardo, who was expected to place the first wager.

The sports betting lounge at Tioga Downs is situated near the main entrance of the casino, and it has about 2,600 square feet of space. The area can sit up to 50 customers. Other features of the book include 27 video displays, eight betting windows, and 14 self-service betting kiosks.

FanDuel has chosen to work with IGT to bring legal wagering to the Southern Tier. The sportsbook will run on IGT PlayDigital software.

More New York Casinos preparing for launch

New York sports betting law authorizes wagering at four commercial casinos, two of which have already begun operations. The other two facilities are Resorts World Catskills in Monticello and Del Lago Resort and Casino in Waterloo. However, they are yet to announce when they will launch their sportsbooks.

The state also allows wagering services at tribal casinos.

The Oneida Indian Nation has seized this opportunity, and they are working with Caesars Entertainment to bring sports betting to three of their upstate properties before the start of the 2019 NFL season. Turning Stone Casino Resort in Verona and Point Palace Casino in Bridgeport are preparing to open on Aug. 1. Yellow Brick Road Casino will follow later in the year.

Two more Indian tribes, the Seneca Nation and the Saint Regis Mohawk Nation, have announced plans to add sports betting to their casinos, but they have not given the timelines for the launch.

What about mobile?

The Empire State’s constitution provides for in-person wagering at the four upstate casinos and tribal operated gaming facilities.
Attempts to expand the current New York sports betting law to include mobile wagering have been met with mixed reactions over the past few years. Those against the proposal cite constitutional concerns.

The state’s Senate passed a gambling expansion bill that aimed at legalizing online betting in the jurisdiction this year, but the legislation suffered massive defeat in the Assembly. The opponents of the bill think that the state would have to amend its constitution through a referendum before it can enact any gambling expansion law.

However, proponents of online wagering including assemblyman Gary Pretlow and New York state senator Joseph Addabbo have said that they will push for the passage of a mobile betting bill during the next legislative session.