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New York Sportsbooks Focus On Experience To Combat Convenience

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NY sportsbooks plan to wow customers.

There’s no more convenient way to bet on sports than on your phone from your couch. New York sportsbooks don’t deny that. Instead, they try to outdo the appeal of not having to wear pants with providing an experience bettors can’t get at home.

The four commercial upstate casinos in NY currently have a monopoly on legal New York sports betting. That monopoly won’t mean much if nobody shows up, however.

The plan to lure bettors to their property is to wow them visually.

New York casino sportsbooks provide amenities to cash in on monopoly

The four current hotspots for NY sports betting are:

Between the four offerings, NY residents and visitors will find aesthetics aimed to accommodate viewing and, even more importantly, make it easy to place wagers.

The casinos are banking on sportsbooks to increase foot traffic. Operating a sportsbook isn’t considered in and of itself a high-profit business.

It’s more of a tool to lure people in and hope that while they’re there, they will make their way to their favorite table game or slot machine.

If that ends up being the case, then all the dollars invested by these facilities in opening their sportsbooks will pay off.

The skinny on Rivers Casino & Resort Schenectady

The first of the four to open, in July, was Rivers, which will forever be able to brag that it was the site of the first legal sports bet in the Empire State. It wasn’t first by much, however, and it has more to boast of than simply being first to market.

The 5,000-square-foot sportsbook area operated by Rush Street Interactive aims to entice with 18 VIP club chairs and five private booths. The private booths seat six and come with their own television monitors.

More “general seating” accommodations house up to 80 patrons with 32 tabletop seats. The most impressive feature, however, could be an LED video wall that measures 53 feet in length and 9 feet in height. Adjacent to that is 22 more 86-inch television monitors.

If you care to place a wager as you take in the sights, there are six betting windows and 14 kiosks. The sportsbook is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, through the kiosks.

The operation hours for the windows are:

  • Monday-Thursday: 10 a.m. to midnight
  • Friday: 10 a.m. to 1 a.m.
  • Saturday: 9 a.m. to 1 a.m.
  • Sunday: 9 a.m. to midnight

Rivers only accepts cash for deposits. A myriad of professional sports in a variety of formats are available for patrons to wager on. Winning tickets can be cashed out at the betting windows or any of the casino’s cages.

While Rivers has focused on building its brand with an impressive aesthetic, one of its competitors is relying on familiarity with another brand to drive traffic.

Tioga Downs hopes to build fans of its FanDuel Sportsbook

Tioga Downs Casino is the site of NY’s FanDuel Sportsbook, where NY residents familiar with the daily fantasy sports giant will find opportunities to bet on professional games under the same banner.

The FanDuel Sportsbook is about half the size of Rivers’, coming in at 2,600 square feet. The capacity for the viewing area is also almost half, with accommodations for up to 50 people. The number of individual television monitors is 27.

The appearance is much the same as Rivers, with a massive viewing wall and high tops in a sports bar setting. There are eight betting windows. The hours of operation are expansive:

  • Monday-Thursday: 10 a.m. to 1 a.m.
  • Friday: 10 a.m. to 2 a.m.
  • Saturday: 9 a.m. to 2 a.m.
  • Sunday: 9 a.m. to 11:30 p.m.

Similar to the competition, patrons will need cash or a winning ticket from a previous bet to fund wagers.

FanDuel Sportsbook offers:

  • Moneyline
  • Parlay
  • Point spread
  • Straight and teaser bets

It accepts wagers on a wide array of professional sports such as:

  • Baseball
  • Basketball
  • Football
  • Hockey
  • Soccer
  • Tennis

The next entry on the list has the same idea as Tioga Downs but hasn’t been as timely on the execution yet.

del Lago hopes to make up ground with a powerful partner

As FanDuel is to Tioga Downs, the other giant in the DFS industry is to del Lago Resort & Casino. DraftKings is the partner of choice for the sportsbook there.

The DraftKings Sportsbook at del Lago isn’t operating yet, and that puts del Lago at a clear disadvantage. The name recognition that DraftKings carries may help del Lago make up any deficit when it does go live, however.

The space itself will be impressive too, at over 6,000 square feet. The sportsbook will seat 200 and contain 23 kiosks. For those who prefer to place bets at windows, there will be four.

The sportsbook boasts the largest HD video wall in the state as well. VIP accommodations with drink and food specials will be available to reserve.

As far as the betting product goes, there isn’t much variation between the four books. Many of those rules are placed by the New York State Gaming Commission. Attempting to offer something different is the gimmick for the final place where legal sports betting resides in New York.

Resorts World Catskills betting on less being more

Resorts World Catskills Casino treats sports betting like any other type of gambling on its property, incorporating its sportsbook into its 65,000 square feet of gaming area.

The casino does offer patrons a sports bar but doesn’t center its sportsbook amenities around that facet of the property. The sportsbook is similar to others in that Resorts World Catskills has partnered with Bet365.

Resorts World Catskills also has the advantage of being the closest of the four to New York City. The proximity might entice more New Yorkers to put on some pants.

Although these New York casinos know their products aren’t the most convenient options, they hope NY residents and visitors overlook that. If the giant video walls and VIP areas don’t draw people in, maybe the fact that they’re the only place in the state to place legal bets will.

Correction: This story originally stated that the sportsbook at Rivers Casino was operated by Kambi. It is operated by Rush Street Interactive, who works with Kambi as a partner.

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Derek Helling is a freelance journalist who resides in Kansas City, Mo. He is a 2013 graduate of the University of Iowa and covers the intersections of sports with business and the law.

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