DraftKings Announces Friday Grand Opening for Upstate New York Sportsbook at del Lago

Posted on: August 20, 2019, 09:04h. 

Last updated on: August 20, 2019, 09:04h.

The date has finally been set for DraftKings to open its sportsbook at New York’s del Lago Resort and Casino.

DraftKings announced Tuesday that its sportsbook at the del Lago Casino in Waterloo, NY will open Friday. Del Lago will be the third state-licensed casino to offer sports betting in New York. (Image: Tracy Schuhmacher/Rochester Democrat and Chronicle)

At noon on Friday, representatives from both companies as well as local officials will be on hand to cut the ribbon and place the first bets at the 6,000-square-foot lounge at the Waterloo casino.

The opening comes nearly four months after the New York Gaming Commission approved a plan by del Lago to temporarily reduce the number of slot machines and table games to make way for the sportsbook. The reduction in gaming seats did not affect the casino’s employment numbers.

In order to (build the sportsbook), we are seeking to reduce to 1,650 slots and 66 table games,” del Lago spokesman Steve Greenberg told Casino.org in April. “Once construction is complete, we will likely increase again.”

Located roughly halfway between Rochester and Syracuse, del Lago is the third of the four state-licensed upstate casinos to offer sports betting in New York. In addition to Tioga Downs and Rivers Casino Resort, two tribal casinos have also opened sportsbooks.

New York Makes Three

Like some other sportsbooks before them, DraftKings and del Lago are bringing in an area sports hero to serve as the guest of honor for the ribbon cutting.

Former NFL quarterback Donovan McNabb, who also was a football star and a solid basketball player at Syracuse, also will be on hand Friday for the opening. However, McNabb will not be able to place a bet on the Orange, his alma mater, as New York state regulations prohibit betting on or against in-state college teams.

New York will be the third state for DraftKings’ sportsbook operations. It currently operates a retail sportsbook at the Scarlet Pearl in Mississippi, and it offers both retail and mobile sports betting in New Jersey, with the brick-and-mortar venue at the Resorts Casino in Atlantic City.

In addition, DraftKings announced an agreement with Penn National Gaming last month that will enable it to offer online sports betting in seven states for 10 years with an option to extend the arrangement for another 10 years.

DraftKings’ New York sportsbook will only feature the retail component. The state currently does not have a law allowing mobile sports betting.

Other Changes Underway at del Lago

Sports betting’s arrival at the upstate New York casino comes about a week after it was announced one of the $440 million casino’s founders, the Wilmot family, was selling its share of the property to its partner, Peninsula Pacific. The Wilmot family also owns Wilmorite Management Group, a commercial real estate development company based in Rochester.

The decision to sell its 50 percent stake came more than a year after Thomas Wilmot, the family’s patriarch, unsuccessfully tried to lobby state officials to help the casino, which has struggled to meet projections since it opened in 2017.

None of the four upstate casinos have yet to meet financial projections. That, in particular, has hurt del Lago as Moody’s Investors Service currently rates the casino’s bond rating of Caa3, a negative grade that means analysts consider the company as vulnerable.