NIGC Backs Sports Wagering at Oneida Venues in New York Even Though State Regulations Not in Place

Posted on: June 1, 2019, 02:00h. 

Last updated on: May 31, 2019, 07:52h.

The Oneida Indian Nation — which operates three tribal casinos in New York State — got approval from the National Indian Gaming Commission (NIGC) to move forward with plans to offer sports betting at the venues.

Turning Stone Resort Casino is one of three Oneida tribal venues that may soon have sports betting. (Image: Turning Stone Resort Casino)

Before it is launched, state regulators need to issue final regulations. But tribal officials and corporate partners are confident those will soon be approved, likely later this year, for the casinos.

The venues include: Turning Stone Resort Casino, Yellow Brick Road Casino and Point Place Casino. Each is in central New York State.

We are proud that we will be among the first Indian nations in the country to offer sports betting, and we appreciate NIGC’s favorable determination of our partnership with Scientific Games,” Ray Halbritter, Oneida Nation Representative and Oneida Nation Enterprises CEO, told

“We look forward to offering sports betting in the near future …,” he added. Under the collaboration, Scientific Games will provide its OpenBet platform to the tribe.

Also taking part in the initiative is Caesars Entertainment. A branding and licensing alliance will allow the tribe to set up The Lounge with Caesars Sports at the eventual sports books.

“When New York is regulated and launches sports betting, we will be ready to provide our turnkey sportsbook solutions,” Cole Rush, a spokesman for Scientific Games, told “This determination sets us up for a clearer path forward in the state.”

In a statement released Friday, Jordan Levin, group chief executive of SG Digital, said, “Being part of the first sports betting partnership to receive a favorable NIGC determination is a significant milestone….”

In January, the state Gaming Commission approved preliminary regulations for sports betting at New York State’s four commercial casinos. Once adopted, the rules would allow for in-person sports betting in the commercial venues as well as some tribal casinos — but would not allow betting through cell phones.

Supporters of online or mobile phone wagering counter that online betting would technically be taking place inside the casinos where the servers processing the bets would be located. That would not constitute an expansion of gambling.

Online Sports Betting Bill Moving Forward in Legislature

Under proposed New York State legislation, online sports betting would be only available through the four commercial casinos and via tribes that have existing compacts with the state. Beyond the Oneidas, these are the Senecas and the St. Regis Mohawks, according to the Buffalo News.

On Wednesday, a bill – A.6113-A – that will allow sports betting via mobile devices — was approved by an 8-to-3 vote in the Assembly’s Racing and Wagering Committee. It next will be reviewed by Codes Committee.

The bill’s top sponsor is Assemblyman J. Gary Pretlow (D-89). He is chairman of the Racing and Wagering Committee.

A companion Senate bill, S.17-A is now before the Appropriations Committee. On May 13 it was approved by the Senate Racing, Gaming and Wagering Committee.

Its main sponsor is Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr. (D-15). He is chairman of that committee.

Among those critical of expanding gambling in New York State is Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie (D-83). Gov. Andrew Cuomo — another Democrat — has not been a fan of expanding gaming in the state.

Cuomo has said that online sports betting would violate the state constitution. The constitution would need an amendment to approve online athletic wagering, the governor contends.

New York could be among the top three states for sports betting revenue once it launches, according to analysis from the American Gaming Association.