Oneida Indian Nation reopened its sportsbooks at three New York casinos Wednesday.
The move coincides with Major League Baseball’s Opening Day and the restart of the National Basketball Association.
It’s also a blessing for New York sports gamblers.
Although sports gambling was legalized in the state last year, online or mobile betting is not allowed. As a result, customers must place all bets in-person at lounges like the Oneida sites.
Sportsbook reopenings follow tribal casinos
Starting this week, bettors will be able to place wagers at sportsbook windows and kiosks. Oneida has said food and drinks will be available, so fans can enjoy their sports viewing atmosphere.
Oneida specifically referenced “the beginning of professional baseball and the restart of professional basketball” when announcing its decision to reopen sportsbooks.
MLB started its season with two games Thursday evening, between the New York Yankees and Washington Nationals, and the San Francisco Giants and Los Angeles Dodgers.
The NBA season will resume in the now-famous Orlando bubble on July 30.
The sportsbook returns come after Oneida reopened its casinos on June 10.
Tribal facilities reopened to patrons before New York’s commercial casinos, because tribal casinos are not required to follow state orders.
State officials have said they will “remain closed as the state government continues to review the science and facts on their safe reopening.”
As a result, thousands of casino workers face potential long-term layoffs in the midst of such uncertainty.
Stringent health measures accompany reopenings
Oneida will implement its Safer Together Reopening Health & Safety Plan at the three sportsbooks.
The health measures prohibit guests from 22 states and require face masks to enter. The plan draws on practices embraced by other gaming and hospitality sites and input from nearby public officials.
Patrons can remove face masks once in a sportsbook, but must practice social distancing. In addition, 50% occupancy limits will also be in place.
The banned states include:
- North Carolina
- Tennessee and more
Restaurants and bars also require social distancing. Buffets and other self-service food spots remain closed at Oneida locations.
Employees in direct contact with patrons wear gloves and take daily thermal temperature checks.
The sportsbooks will also benefit from boosted sanitization efforts.
“Enhanced cleaning measures include … HVAC air changeover levels will be maintained at significantly greater capacity, and will exceed those required by the standard commercial code; touchless hand sanitizer dispensers placed at every guest entry point and throughout the property,” noted Oneida in its media release.