The Seneca Nation of Indians said Monday it is preparing to bring sports betting in its casinos, although the timeline isn’t clear yet.
Last week, the New York Gaming Commission approved rules and regulations for licensing, owning and operating sports gaming facilities. The rules apply only to the four Upstate casinos and Native American facilities and wagers must be placed in person.
The U.S. Supreme Court struck down a ban on sports betting last year, effectively opening up the industry outside of the state of Nevada. However, while the move does not come as a big surprise, the Senecas had remained relatively quiet about their plans, waiting for New York State to work out its regulatory structure.
“Now that regulations for in-person sports betting have been approved in New York, the Seneca Nation will move forward accordingly with our preparations to offer this new and exciting amenity to our casino guests. As we always have, we will ensure that our operations offer our guests the best atmosphere and experience available anywhere in the region,” spokesperson Phil Pantano said.
The state legislature is still weighing expanding the industry to allow online and mobile betting, as well as wagers at off-track betting and race track facilities. The governor has repeatedly voiced skepticism about whether a deal can get done this year and questioned the constitutionality of the bill.
A source said the legislation still appears to have some life though in the final days of session. The Senecas, who could potentially have some exclusivity rights in their region, said they are in favor.
“While we make these preparations, we will also continue to monitor discussions surrounding the potential for mobile sports wagering in New York, which we feel will elevate the guest experience and excitement even further,” Pantano said.
The Senecas own and operate gaming facilities in Niagara Falls, Buffalo and Salamanca. Otherwise, as the law currently stands, del Lago in the Finger Lakes would be the closest casino where someone from Western New York could place a wager in person.