Upstate NY casino to partner with global gaming company to offer sports betting

NICHOLS, NY -- When -- or if -- sports betting comes to New York state, gamblers in the Southern Tier will be able to place their wagers through one of the world's largest gambling companies.

Tioga Downs, the full-service casino west of Binghamton, announced it will partner with Betfair US to run its sports book. Betfair US is a division of Paddy Power Betfair, which operates sports betting in the United Kingdom, Europe and Australia, and racetrack betting in the U.S. through a division called TVG.

Betfair's deal also includes Meadowlands Racetrack in northern New Jersey. Both Tioga and Meadowlands are owned by real estate developer Jeff Gural. (Gural also owns the Vernon Downs racino in Oneida County, which is not part of the Betfair agreement).

The Betfair/Tioga Downs/Meadowlands sports book will likely operate under the banner of FanDuel, one of the country's largest daily sports fantasy leagues, according to reports in national gaming media outets. Betfair recently announced plans to merge with FanDuel. That could happen later this year.

It's still not clear, however, when sports betting might start in New York.

On May 14, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a federal law that had effectively banned sports betting outside of Nevada. That ruling cleared the way for other states to create their own laws and rules to allow sports betting.

Delaware was the first to open sports books, which it did at three racetracks last week. New Jersey, the state that won the Supreme Court decision by challenging the federal ban, approved a sport betting bill that was signed into law today (June 11.) Betting begins this week. 

In New York, things so far are moving more slowly.

The state has a law on the books that allows sports betting to operate exclusively at the new full service commercial casinos it authorized in 2013 -- Tioga Downs, Rivers Casino & Resort in Schenectady, del Lago Resort & Casino near Waterloo in the Finger Lakes and Resorts World Catskills near Monticello in Sullivan County.

But that law is just the framework for the State Gaming Commission to write specific regulations and decide how and when to issue licenses to operate. The commission is working on those regulations, an agency spokesman has said.

And the state Legislature has until the end of its session on June 20 to make what many observers say are necessary changes to the 2013 law. That law, for example, does not allow online betting through smartphones or other devices, and it prohibits bets on New York's college teams or on events that take place in New York.

Bills currently introduced in the legislature would allow online betting and allow other loactions, such as the state's racinos (horse tracks with slots) to offer betting kiosks affiliated with the four authorized casinos. The bills would prohibit betting on high school spots, but eliminate the bans on New York college and games held withing the state.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has said he does not believe the state will have time to authorize sports betting this year, but lobbyists are pushing hard for faster action.

None of the other three Upstate commercial casinos have yet announced a deal similar to the Tioga/Betfair agreeement.

Meanwhile, the state's Indian nation-owned casinos, operated by the Oneida, Seneca, and Akwesasne Mohawk nations, are watching the state's progress. The Oneidas have said they plan to offer sports betting at their three casinos in Central New York. The Oneidas have not given a timetable,  but say they do not need state approval beyond the gaming compact they already have with the state.

The deal that Gural's properties announced with Betfair US would be "long-term agreements" and would provide betting options for both retail (on site) and mobile/online wagering, according to a Betfair news release.

The releases acknowledges the sports betting would take place "pending legislative and regulatory authorization."

Paddy Power Betfair has five million active customers and processed over $15 billion in sports wagers around the world in 2017. 

"We could not be more excited to partner with Jeff Gural and his partners for sports betting in New Jersey and New York," Kip Levin, CEO of Betfair US, said in a news release. He noted that the Meadowlands track, located next to the sports complex that is home to the NFL's New York Giants and New York Jets, is an ideal location for sports betting in the New York City metro area. 

"Sports betting is a great opportunity for Meadowlands and Tioga Downs," Gural said in the release. "We went through a diligent process and reviewed several options to provide customers with the best sports betting experience possible.  In the end, Betfair's world leading products and experience proved the best choice.  We are eager to get started with our partners, with whom we have had a long relationship for racing with TVG, on this exciting venture."

https://www.newyorkupstate.com/casinos/2018/06/tioga_downs_sports_betting_betfair_meadowlands.html