Next to Super Bowl Sunday, the biggest event of the year for New York sports betting is arguably March Madness. And 2021 is no exception, especially as four men’s basketball teams from the Empire State are part of the 68-team field.
How you want to bet on the NCAA Division I men’s basketball tournament this year will dictate your best course of action. You won’t find betting markets on any of those four teams in New York, for example. Regardless of which markets you have your eyes on, there are legal ways to stake those games for New Yorkers.
Why NY doesn’t feature March Madness betting markets on NY teams
Two words explain this in a succinct fashion: It’s illegal.
New York law forbids licensed sportsbook operators in the state from accepting wagers on in-state college teams and the events in which they participate. Don’t worry, though. That doesn’t mean the entire tournament is off the board. Just games involving the following teams:
- No. 14 Colgate
- No. 15 Iona
- No. 9 St. Bonaventure
- No. 11 Syracuse
Several states with regulated sports betting markets have similar laws. The logic behind the carveouts is that college athletes are more susceptible to people pressuring them in an attempt to fix results. New Jersey has an identical restriction, obviously tailored to its in-state colleges.
So, if you want to get some money down on the Raiders, Gaels, Bonnies or Orange, you will have to cross the state line into New Jersey. There’s another incentive to do that besides having those options.
Sports betting apps abound in NJ, PA
Of course, if you’re closer to the Pennsylvania border than NJ, you can get the same benefit of wagering on New York-based teams.
You can also do so online, which is the utmost betting convenience. Just cross the state line far enough for the geolocation technology on your phone to verify your presence within either state, then browse the markets to your heart’s content.
You don’t have to be a resident of New Jersey or Pennsylvania to legally wager in either state. You do have to be at least 21 years old in both states, though. Both markets offer an array of sports betting options, like DraftKings Sportsbook, FanDuel Sportsbook and BetMGM.
While lawmakers in New York continue to push for the legalization of online wagering this year, that won’t happen before the tournament starts. Should your betting plans for this year’s tournament not involve an in-state program and you prefer to keep your bets in New York, you do have legal options.
March Madness betting at NY retail sportsbooks
New York’s four commercial upstate casinos all have their brick-and-mortar sportsbooks open not only for betting but also watching the games on a restricted basis. Bettors should be prepared to abide by face mask and social distancing requirements. Here are the details for each property as of the time of this writing.
DraftKings Sportsbook at del Lago (Waterloo): While four betting windows and 23 kiosks may be what you go for, the 1,000 square feet of LED video screens available across the 6,000 square feet of sportsbook area at the resort may keep you on-site. Seating is first-come, first-serve and limited due to COVID-19 precautions.
FanDuel Sportsbook at Tioga Downs (Nichols): Spanning 2,600 square feet, the sportsbook welcomes you with eight windows, open noon to 10 p.m. on weekdays and 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on weekends. The video wall is complemented by 27 smaller displays and three odds tickers. The book will open at 10 a.m. Friday, the first day of the NCAA tournament. Lounge and hightop table seating is open but limited.
Rivers Sportsbook (Schenectady): With six betting windows open 7 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. daily and 14 kiosks available 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily, the sportsbook offers a 53-foot LED video wall and 22 additional TV screens. Gamblers can reserve VIP club chairs and tables, including five private booths. Open seating is limited.
Sportsbook 360 at Resorts World Catskills (Monticello): The unique 360-degree arc of 32 jumbo flat-screen televisions builds onto the 9-by-16-foot video wall in this 6,000-square-foot venue. Seating is open here. The betting windows are open from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Wednesdays through Mondays and from 3 p.m. to 11 p.m. on Tuesdays. Kiosks run during all casino hours.
Tribal casino sportsbooks
Akwesasne Mohawk Casino (Hogansburg): Sticks Sports Book & Grill offers a 9-by-13-foot video wall and dining. There are kiosks throughout the casino along with windows at the book. The hours include 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays, 2 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Fridays, and 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. on weekends.
Turning Stone Casino (Verona): The Lounge boasts Caesars branding, a 500 square-foot curved LED screen and a reservable VIP section. The book is offering extended hours for the tournament, starting Friday. The temporary schedule is 10 a.m. to midnight on Fridays and Saturdays, then 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Sundays.
Yellow Brick Road Casino (Chittenango): With similar branding as Turning Stone as the Oneida Nation operates both properties, this property is also offering the same extended hours for the tournament. What makes this property unique, however, is a 32-foot video wall and seven VIP fan caves that you can reserve.
No matter how you want to bet on March Madness this year, there’s a legal pathway for you. It may require travel on your part, but that adds to the diversion by making it a “getaway.”