Seneca Nation President Rickey Armstrong Sr. bet $40 on the bills to beat the Steelers, starting Friday at the Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino in sports betting.
Customers were able to bet on everything from hockey and football to basketball and mixed martial arts, the only thing missing was horse racing.
This year, regulated sports betting came to New York State, and it has now landed at the downtown casino in Buffalo. At its casinos in Niagara Falls and Salamanca, Seneca Gaming Corp. plans to add sports betting soon.
Using digital kiosks and manned teller windows Bettors must be physically at the Buffalo casino to position a sports wager. On a mobile device, customers will create a bet offsite, then obtain a QR code to complete the property bet.
Armstrong called the addition of “monumental” on-site sports betting, but he said he was also looking for an expanded version of sports wagering.
“Brick and mortar [betting] is going to be substantial profit, but we’re also waiting for (online betting) to come in, maybe next year through legislation,” said Armstrong, dressed in a replica Sabres jersey with uniform No. 21.
Armstrong indicated that sports betting could be added next week at the national casino in Salamanca and the week after that at the casino in Niagara Falls. But no specific dates were announced.
Holly Gagnon, CEO of Seneca Gaming, declined to say how much extra revenue the three casinos expect from sports betting to generate. “I think we really expect for Buffalo to be much more active than some of the other markets [in the state] because Buffalo is such a great sports town,” she said.
According to the State Gaming Commission, Rivers Casino and Resort in Schenectady reported gross sports wagering revenue of nearly $550,000 in November and $1 million in October. That casino started taking sports bets in July; sports bets accounted for about 3 percent of the total gross gaming revenue of the Rivers Casino from July to November.
West Seneca’s John Riccardi was among the first to place a sports wager at the casino in Buffalo. Last Sunday night, he put $20 on the Bills to win. Riccardi had the day off, heard on the radio about the kickoff case, and dropped out of curiosity.
“I think if we’re going to do (legalised sports betting), we might as well get some of the revenue and it might as well stay here, rather than going online to other parts of the country or other places,” Riccardi said. “If it’s going to benefit the area, I’m all for it.”
Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino repurposed a portion of its property in the Sports Lounge with sports programming TV screens and sports betting facilities.
Seneca Gaming employs more than 30 employees across its three casinos region to begin its sports betting operations. It is predicted that this statistic will through.