The Rivers Casino & Resort currently provides players who visit their facility with off-track betting, services also known as OTB. The casino would now like to provide track odds for horse racing and have been given support by the local City Council.
The payouts from off-track betting at the casino have fees removed before prizes are paid to winners. A new program would do away with the 5% surcharge, which would provide a payoff that matches if the player was actually at the track where the race occurred. The City Council of Schenectady is on board with the idea, signing a resolution to provide their support to the casino on the change.
The City Council decided to approve the measure quickly because they want to be able to implement the new betting option before the Kentucky Derby begins. The popular horse race takes place in May. According to City Council President Ed Kosiur the decision allows the City Council to have a strong relationship as well as partnership with the casino.
Officials feel that being able to eliminate the fee will help to draw more bettors to the casino. Once players realize that they will have access to track odds, they will be more willing to take part in off-track wagering at the facility.
Gaming Commission Approval
The Rivers Casino is the only gaming venue in New York that provides on-site horse betting on live races. The Gaming Commission must now sign off on the idea before the facility can move forward. If they are approved, they would then be the only casino in New York that provides horse racing and sports betting.
City Council members also feel that track odds will increase revenue numbers for the casino as well as local governments. The tracks in the state will benefit because players will be more involved in the wagering option.
It has been estimated that track odds will increase revenues for Schenectady as well as the county. Estimates project as much as $50,000 to $100,000 more will be generated. Once sports betting is in full swing, it has been estimated that as much as $5 million will be earned. The city has budgeted $175,000 in revenues for this year’s budget from off-track betting.
Casinos in New York are currently preparing for sports betting. The Gaming Commission approved the draft rules in March, which started the process of casinos preparing to launch services by summer. The draft rules must complete a 60-day public commenting period before moving forward. The end date for this period is May 20th.
If the rules are not commented on, then the Commission could adopt them as early as late May, early June. If comments are made, it will take a little bit longer. After the rules are adopted, casinos in the state like the Rivers will be able to submit an application to offer sports betting. The application must be approved by the Gaming Commission.
The rules currently allow wagering on professional sports, subject to the league and type of bet that is approved by the Commission. Operators are not allowed to offer sports wagers on amateur sports, except for some accepted college contests.
It is expected that the Rivers will be approved for the track odds wagering request. It will be interesting to see how they fare offering this new option along with sports betting if the casino is approved.