Three More For New York: Seneca Sportsbooks To Open Doors By New Year’s Day

Written By Derek Helling on December 11, 2019
Buffalo among New York cities getting a sportsbook

While the Empire State languishes with legal sports betting scarcity, some relief is imminent. Three Seneca casino sportsbooks are on the way.

The Seneca Gaming Corp. intends to put retail sportsbooks in three of its New York casinos. That will bring legal sports betting to Buffalo, Niagara and Salamanca.

Details on the three new Seneca casino sportsbooks

Although Seneca has yet to announce launch dates, the tribe hopes to have all three live before New Year’s Day 2020. The race is on because of deals the corporation recently made.

UK-based Kambi has partnered with Seneca to operate the sportsbooks. Seneca also recently made a deal with Bragg Gaming for player account management that will apply to all of its products.

The Kambi deal means all three locations will not only feature betting windows but kiosks as well. It also provides an avenue for future growth, if the state ever allows for it.

The Seneca sportsbooks are limited by current law

Mobile or online betting remains illegal in New York, even under the umbrella of the brick-and-mortar legal operators. Like the four upstate commercial casinos currently offering legal sports betting in the Empire State, the Seneca casinos will be ready to expand their product if/when the opportunity arises.

The Kambi deal includes an online wagering platform. While it may take years to change the law in New York because of the possibility of a constitutional amendment requirement, there is support for legal mobile wagering in the state.

That is one of the topics of a broader gambling expansion study recently commissioned by the New York State Gaming Commission. If the study determines that online wagering would be a revenue boost for the state with few drawbacks, that could increase support for a legal carve-out without an amendment such as the state created for daily fantasy sports.

Regardless of if and when the law changes to allow the Seneca sportsbooks to go mobile, the corporation will market its retail sportsbook. It will have help doing that.

Seneca partners with Buffalo Bills ahead of sportsbook opening

Seneca Buffalo Creek recently became the official casino of the only NFL team that actually plays in New York: the Buffalo Bills. While that happened prior to Seneca’s announced entry into sports betting, the intent is clear.

After the sportsbook opens, expect Seneca to feature the partnership in its marketing. The deal should factor in heavily if the Bills make the playoffs this season.

Other sportsbooks have had former NFL coaches and players relevant to local fan bases in for opening ceremonies. Examples of that include former Chicago Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher in northern Indiana and former Minnesota Vikings defensive end John Randle in northern Iowa.

Nothing has been announced yet, but possibilities for the Buffalo location include former Bills players Bruce Smith or Thurman Thomas. Either of those choices would likely draw a crowd.

The other two locations may have to get more creative in their marketing, but New York has no shortage of celebrity athletes to draw from. The exciting thing for New Yorkers is that legal sports betting will be more available.

For the Empire State to compete with other markets in the US though, online betting will be necessary. This move by the Seneca Gaming Corp. further prepares New York for that day.

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Derek Helling

Derek Helling is a lead writer for PlayUSA and the manager of BetHer. 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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