Tioga Downs Partners with Betfair US for Sports Book Operations

The Tioga Downs Casino Resort of Nichols, New York, has announced a new partnership with Betfair US, a division of Paddy Power Betfair, in preparation for legalized sports betting in the state.

While sports betting has yet to be legalized in New York State, gaming operators are wasting no time preparing for the time it becomes a reality. It was announced this week that Tioga Downs will partner with Betfair US to run a sports book at its casino venue. The Betfair deal also includes the Meadowlands Racetrack, as both the track and Tioga are owned by Jeff Gural, a real estate developer.

New sportsbook deal

The new deals with the properties owned by Gural are reportedly long-term agreements, providing betting options on-site via retail venues and mobile/online wagering. Kip Leven, the CEO of Betfair US, said: “We could not be more excited to partner with Jeff Gural and his partners for sports betting in New Jersey and New York. Sports betting is a great opportunity for Meadowlands and Tioga Downs. We went through a diligent process and reviewed several options to provide customers with the best sports betting experience possible. In the end, Betfair’s world-leading products and experience proved the best choice. We are eager to get started with our partners, with whom we have had a long relationship for racing with TVG, on this exciting venture.”

It is believed that the sports book offered via the partnership will operate under the FanDuel banner, as Betfair recently announced plans to merge with the daily fantasy sports company. The merger is expected to take place later this year.

Current state of affairs

Since mid-May, states across the US have been busy reviewing sports betting legislation, after the United States Supreme Court struck down PASPA, a federal law that restricted sports wagering in the nation. The ruling paved the way for states to create their own legislation and regulations to allow sports betting within their borders.

In New York, there is a law on the books that allows sports betting to take place at the full-service casinos that were authorized back in 2013: Tioga Downs, del Lago Resort & Casino, Resorts World Catskills, and the Rivers Casino & Resort. However, the law is merely a framework that the state gaming commission can use to create specific regulations and determine how and when licensing should be issued for operations.

The commission is reportedly working on regulations, while lawmakers are considering legislation that would allow the commercial casinos to offer online sports betting platforms, and betting kiosks, racetracks, and other venues might also be added. The bill would also prohibit high school sports wagering and would eliminate a ban on college wagering as well as games held within the state.

The state senate and assembly seem to agree that they will move forward with a unified bill. Assembly Racing and Wagering Committee Chairman Gary Pretlow said that the assembly has a same-as with the senate now, and he remains optimistic that a bill will move forward before the legislative session ends next week on June 20.

Pretlow introduced A11144 last Friday; so far, no formal action has taken place on the proposal. Senator John Bonacic has a bill in the Senate, S7900, which has been sitting in the Rules Committee since the first of this month. The bills are basically identical after a few changes were made. Both include a 0.25% fee for sports leagues to be paid by casinos that offer sports betting. Professional sports leagues like Major League Baseball have been pushing for legislators to adopt such a fee within sports betting legislation, arguing that the legalization of sports wagering will bring significant risks as well as costs to the professional leagues and that they should be compensated.

For now, it remains uncertain whether the New York Legislature will be able to approve a sports betting bill before the June 20 deadline. Either way, Tioga Downs will be ready for sports betting once a law is in place.

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