Mohawk Nation Teams Up with Stars Group on New York Sports Book, Stars Eyes Future Online Potential

Posted on: July 10, 2019, 01:45h. 

Last updated on: July 11, 2019, 12:52h.

The Saint Regis Mohawk Nation of New York will partner with the Stars Group to bring sports betting to the Akwesasne Mohawk Casino Resort in the northern part of the state near the Canadian border.

New York sports betting
The Stars Group has never operated a land-based sportsbook before but will provide support services for the Mohawk operation. Stars and its new investor, Fox, are gambling that mobile betting is just around the corner. (Image: Wayne Parry/AP)

The tribe said Tuesday it had started construction on what will be known as “Stick’s Sports Bar & Sports Book.” It’s tentatively scheduled to open in the fall.

The Stars Group will provide “support services for the launch and operation” of the sportsbook, but the big draw for the exclusively online operator is an option written into the deal to “operate and brand real-money online sports betting, poker, and casino in New York on a first skin basis.”

That’s subject to license availability, of course, because none of those are yet legal in the state. Should they become so, the state would quickly become the biggest sports betting and online gaming market in the US.

Two Tribes on Board

The Mohawk becomes the second tribal operator in the state to announce their intention to capitalize on the repeal of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA), which restricted sports betting in almost all states. The Oneida Nation said in May it would launch a sports book later this year, in partnership with Scientific Games and Caesars Entertainment.

The state’s other tribal operator, the Seneca Nation, is engaged in a $255 million casino revenue-share dispute with state leaders. Tribal leaders have said they are “exploring its options” with regards to sports betting.

The tribes can offer sports betting under the terms of their compacts, which gives them the right to operate any type of class III gaming, provided it is available commercially anywhere else in the state.

Sportsbooks to Open for NFL Season

New York residents authorized sports betting in 2013 when they voted to legalize commercial casino gaming. That amendment created licenses for the four casinos now in operation upstate.

After the US Supreme Court decision on PASPA, the four casinos and the tribes needed the New York Gaming Commission to create and approve sports betting regulations.

Those rules were signed off early last month. Most operators will be looking to get their operations up in time for the new NFL season in September.

Future is Mobile

For now, sports betting will be land-based only after a legislative effort to add mobile betting failed during the session that just ended. However, the effort will resume next year, likely with the encouragement of Stars Group and Fox Sports lobbyists.

In May, Fox acquired a 4.99 percent share of the Stars Group for $236 million in a deal that will see Stars’ US-facing sports betting operations rebranded as FoxBet. It’s the first such deal between a gambling operator and a mainstream broadcaster in the US.

Analysts Eilers & Krejcik Gaming have estimated that a mature New York market with full-scale mobile sports betting would generate just over $1 billion in revenues per year.