Rivers Casino in Schenectady was packed on Sunday with NFL fans ready to legally bet on games in New York state for the first time. The staff says they took in more than $300,000 in bets on college football on Saturday, and expect to surpass that on the first Sunday of the NFL season.
"This is our first back-to-back full college-pro football weekend and it hasn't let us down, it's more than exceeded expectations," said Hal Wafer, Rivers Casino Sports Book manager.
Wafer says lines started forming to place bets around 8 a.m. Sunday, even though the first kickoffs weren't until 1 p.m.
"The kiosks, the line goes all the way to the bathroom. I figure it's about 50 deep just to get to the kiosk and then behind me here on this side you've got about 25 to get to the counter terminals with the live betting ticket writers," Wafer said.
One of those people who got in line early? Sean Rooney from Saratoga, he says he's been waiting to bet on the NFL for a long time.
"I've never bet football so I'm very excited to be here, like I mentioned, I was here at 9:30 a.m. so I've been looking forward to this day for awhile," Rooney said.
But with legal sports betting underway across most of the state, some organizations are concerned about gambling addiction. Director of the Center for Problem Gambling, William Hill, says gamblers with a problem may not be able to focus on their lives and have serious financial issues.
"We're not against gambling, what we are is proponents for having a place for gamblers to go to when gambling becomes a problem," Hill said. "Most people who bet recreationally or responsibly they know when to stop."
And Wafers says he expects the bets won't be a fumble for the casino.
"People just love the sports betting, especially the NFL, and I can't say it enough, football is king," Wafer said.
Betters Spectrum News spoke to said the only hitch was waiting in line to bet but it moved quickly, and things otherwise went smoothly. Rivers Casino says they planned for the crowds and were ready for a big turnout.