NY Gaming Commission Approves del Lago Plan to Cut Slots, Tables for Planned Sportsbook

Posted on: April 30, 2019, 04:21h. 

Last updated on: April 30, 2019, 04:21h.

The New York Gaming Commission paved the way for the del Lago Resort and Casino to begin work on its sportsbook.

Gamblers place their bets at the del Lago Resort and Casino in upstate New York. On Monday, the state gaming commission approved a plan letting the casino cutback on its slots and table games to make room for a planned sportsbook. (Image: Spencer Tulis/Finger Lakes Times)

In a unanimous decision, the commission at its Monday meeting approved the casino’s request to reduce its slot machines and table games. The resort, which opened two years ago, is located in Tyre roughly halfway between Rochester and Syracuse in upstate New York.

Steven Greenberg, a spokesman for del Lago, said the move was needed to begin work on a sportsbook at the 94,000-square-foot casino.

In order to accomplish this, we are seeking to reduce to 1,650 slots and 66 table games,” Greenberg told Casino.org in a statement. “Once construction is complete, we will likely increase again.”

Resort officials did not answer questions about when the work would begin or when they anticipate offering sports betting to its patrons. On March 20, the gaming commission posted draft regulations pertaining to sports betting in New York’s upstate casinos. The NYGC is currently accepting public comments on them through May 19.

The commission took that action after the state legislature failed to pass a bill allowing sports betting in the state.

During the commission meeting, it was stated that del Lago sought to remove “underperforming slot and table game assets.” The commission, in its review, noted an “overabundance” of slot machines. They also noted that not all of del Lago’s gaming tables, which includes 14 additional tables for poker, were ever all operating at the same time.

The reductions in games would not affect the casino’s workforce, according to the commission.

The resort is a joint venture between Wilmorite and Peninsula Pacific. JNB Gaming runs the casino.

Others Also Cutting Back

Del Lago became the third New York casino to seek a reduction in its slots and table games. Last month, the board approved similar measures for Tioga Downs Casino and Resort in Nichols, located near the Pennsylvania border, and Resorts World Catskills in Monticello, which is 90 minutes northeast from New York City.

Last month, Tioga Downs officials told WBNG TV that preliminary work was underway on its sportsbook, which will be located in its horse racing betting hub. They hope to start taking bets around Memorial Day.

“The timing of (60-day public comment period) is great, our racing starts in the middle of may so if we could have the sportsbook going by the end of May, early June, that’d be great,” said Jim Weed, Tioga Downs’ marketing manager.

Tioga Downs owners also own the Meadowlands Racetrack in New Jersey. That track’s sportsbook is managed by FanDuel, and the agreement will carry over to Tioga Downs once sports betting is in place in New York.

In November, Empire Resorts, which owns the Catskills casino, announced a 20-year partnership with bet365 Group Limited. In addition to running the sportsbook operations at the resort, bet365 also will acquire up to $50 million in Empire stock.

DraftKings and del Lago announced their partnership back in July.

No Further Expansion Soon

While voters approved up to seven casinos in a 2013 referendum, the state has placed a hold on granting additional licenses until 2023. That’s happening to allow the upstate casinos spur economic development in their regions. The additional licenses would go for casinos in or close to New York City.

And while retail sports betting appears to be close to reality, the ability to place bets online is not. Last month, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said he was not a fan of online sports betting, which he believes would require an amendment to the state constitution.