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Jun 23, 2018  

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Casino operators are gearing up for legal sports betting

A bill unanimously approved this year by a state Senate committee would allow sports wagering at any casino, racetrack or OTB outlet. But the future is likely to see bettors making bets over the phone while watching games from home or the corner bar. Insiders remain skeptical that Cuomo will sign off on mobile betting any time soon, given how cautious he has been about legalizing marijuana. "We might have to wait a year or two on mobile," one gambling executive said, "though you never know, because the tax revenues are going to be big, and some state is going to get them." In the meantime, Eller is in the catbird seat, thanks to a 2013 law that gives casinos like his the right to run a sports book as soon as the state Gaming Commission writes rules and regulations. Until then, he's making do with the more than 40 busloads of gamblers from Chinatown and other parts of the city who visit his casino every day. He surely wouldn't mind more guests. His casino has produced $8.5 million in gaming-tax revenue in its first three months although it had forecast at least $80.4 million in total state tax revenue for its first year, according to a 2015 report with the Gaming Commission. A vision of more flush times can be seen at the casino's sports bar, where one side of the room is covered by a giant mirror that is actually a screen where odds will one day be posted so people can bet on the ballgames shown on the adjacent wall of televisions. "We're ready to turn the screen on as soon as we get the green light," a casino official said. But it's unclear how many gamblers are likely to flock to the Resorts World Catskills sports bar. In Nevada, where sports betting has been legal for years, only 3% of the $4.7 billion bet on last year's Super Bowl was placed at casinos.

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