Will Seneca Casino Become Hotspot for Canada Sports Wagers?

New York tribe’s rare opportunity to provide legal sports betting for Canadians.

NY Tribe's Rare Opportunity to Provide Legal Sports Betting for CanadiansThe Seneca Tribe of Upstate New York has been given a very unique opportunity. Located a stone’s throw across the border from Canadian soil, the Seneca Niagara Resort Casino could soon become the closest legal option for Canada sports wagers, thanks to the recent passage of a bill legalizing sports betting in the state.

So far, the tribe doesn’t seem to interested in the option, but there’s good reason to suspect that, deep down and behind closed doors, they’re grinning like kids in a candy store. After all, Canadians have long expressed their desire for a legal single-event sports betting product in their home country. With local legislative efforts stalling for years, this could be catalyst that sends more Canadians across the border than ever before.

New York to Offer Closest Thing to Legal Sports Betting for Canadians

Last week, New York legislators finalized the rules that establish how casinos in the state can offer sportsbooks. Only four state-licensed casinos have been given the right to launch sports platforms, but due to existing laws regarding the rights of Native Americans, New York’s tribes naturally inherited the lawful opportunity to launch their own sportsbooks the moment authorization was given by the state.

The authorized commercial casinos, and their sportsbook software supply partners, are as follows:

  • Del Lago Casino & Resort in Waterloo, NY, about 220km from Niagara Falls, ON to the west, or Kingston, ON to the northeast, is partnering with DraftKings to provide sports betting services.

  • Resorts World Casino in Jamaica, NY, minimum 600km from any Canadian border, has partnered with Bet365 to provide sports betting services.

  • Tioga Downs Casino Resort in Nichols, NY, along the southern border with Northeast Pennsylvania, has teamed with Paddy Power-Betfair to provide sports betting services.

  • Rivers Casino & Resort in Schenectady, NY, is about 340km due south of Montreal. No official supplier of sports betting services has been named.

In 2013, the state signed an agreement with three tribal casino operators that instantly gave them the right to operate sportsbooks if and when the state legalized the activity commercial casinos. They include the Mohawk Tribe, Oneida Tribe and Seneca Tribe. So far, the first two have made clear their intentions to support the newly legalized wagering platform.

Turning Stone Resort Casino in Verona, NY, more than a 2 hour drive from Gananoque, Ontario, is run by the Oneida Tribe, who has partnered with Caesars to employ its sports betting services.

Akwesasne Mohawk Casino Resort in Akwesasne, NY, about 115km southeast of Ottawa, expressed plans to launch a sportsbook, but has yet to name an operating partner.

Niagara Falls Seneca the Prime Casino for Canada Sports Wagers

Seneca Niagara Resort & Casino is located less than 1km from the Rainbow International Bridge that separates Canada from New York across the great falls. On the other side of the bridge are some of Canada’s hottest gaming destinations, Casino Niagara and Fallsview Casino. While the majority of Canadian casino goers who visit these establishments don’t cross into the United States to do their gaming, those who prefer a good single-event sports wager surely will – if Seneca takes the plunge, that is.

Seneca Niagara is just one of their properties that’s sure to benefit. The tribe also runs the Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino, 20 minutes from Fort Erie, Ontario, and the Seneca Allegany Resort & Casino in Salamanca, NY, more likely to appeal to southwest New Yorkers and northwest Pennsylvanians.

So far, the tribe has hardly indicated any interest in moving forward with a sports wagering platform for their patrons. A spokesperson for Seneca commented that the tribe will likely offer some small sports product, but that it would hardly be a priority. Analysts and experts, and this journalist for the record, are all fairly certain the group is keeping its real intent on the down-low, if for no other reason than it would be incredibly wasteful on their part to neglect is immense opportunity to tap into a gold mine of revenue.

Current estimations state that around 1/3 of all Seneca Niagara Casino patrons are already Canadians who prefer the more relaxed atmosphere of a US casino. Canadians cannot smoke in a casino, nor can they receive free beverages while they’re playing. Seneca provides these services 24/7/365. Add in legal sports betting for Canadians, and there’s no telling how profitable it could be for the Seneca tribe.

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