Seneca Gaming hopes for sports betting by end of year

Announces partnership with Kambi Group; Mobile betting still on hold

 BUFFALO, N.Y. (WBEN) - Sports gambling is expected to come to Western New York by the end of this year.

Kambi Group will be the vendor for Seneca Gaming Corporation when it implements sports betting at the Seneca Casinos in Niagara Falls, Buffalo, and Salamanca.

“We are so excited to bring sports betting to our guests," President and CEO of Seneca Gaming Corporation, Holly Gagnon, said in a statement to SBC Americas. " Seneca Resorts & Casinos remains steadfast in providing the latest and greatest offerings to our customers in entertainment, resort experience, and of course gaming. This collaboration brings a whole new level of excitement.”

"We hope that it helps them," Downstate NYS Senator Joseph Addabbo said. "It helps the local community as well because not only does a portion of the gaming proceeds go to education, it also goes to local municipalities. We see these casino sites as job generators."

Addabbo, who is also the chairman of the Senate Committee on Racing and Wagering, said that mobile sports betting remains the biggest point of contention in Albany and hopes that it can pass in 2020.

Mobile sports betting will allow anyone to gamble using sports books in New York State. Advocates like Addabbo said it will only add to New York's revenues, though there has been push back from people like Governor Andrew Cuomo who said that it may be unconstitutional and require changes to the state's constitution.

Addabbo said there's no need to change the constitution if the servers that accept the bet are placed on the land where there's a licensed casino in New York.

"If we take New York and New Jersey, we did $2.3 million in our New York Casinos Sports Betting without mobile betting in the month of September,"  Addabbo said. "For the same month, New Jersey, with their mobile component, did $38 million."

There are no representatives from Western New York who serve on the gaming committees in either the New York State Senate or Assembly.

Brian Blessing, an advocate for sports gambling, said that when mobile apps become available in New York State, it will open more opportunities in the region.

"It absolutely has to happen," Blessing said. "Even here in Las Vegas, there may be a sports book within 3 miles of you. Just finding time to get there is the hassle. It's transformed Las Vegas because of the convenience aspect. Instead of having to go to the sports book 40 times, you go once, put money in, and you can do it from home."

Addabbo is optimistic that sports gambling will pass this year but that the decision is largely up to Governor Cuomo.