Expected Downturn for Upstate Casinos Betting Handle Coming to Fruition

Expected Downturn for Upstate Casinos Betting Handle Coming to Fruition
Fact Checked by Pat McLoone

The success of New York sports betting in the Empire State has been off the charts since its debut on the morning of Jan. 8.

However, retail sportsbooks at New York's four commercial casinos upstate — Tioga Downs in Nichols, Del Lago in Waterloo, Rivers in Schenectady and Resorts World Catskills in Monticello – have taken a significant hit in recent months.

For example, just look at March numbers:

Total sports betting handle (mobile and retail combined) posted at $1.645 billion, an increase of 7.2% from February ($1.53 billion). Mobile sports betting handle alone comprised $1.638 billion of that total number.

The state’s retail sports betting handle for March was a mere $6.52 million, up a smidge of 0.2% from February’s $6.51 million.

A breakdown of the four retail locations: ($531,481 at Tioga Downs, $1.76 million at Del Lago, $3.26 million at Rivers, $970,943 at Resorts World Catskills).

Total gross gaming revenue (GGR) for the month (mobile and retail combined) posted at $114.96 million, up a significant 39.9% from February’s $82.15 million.

Again, mobile revenue alone was $114.28 million. That is 99.4 percent of the total.

Retail sports betting GGR was at $674,148, which was a huge increase from February after posting minus-$242,505.

Individual numbers from the four locations: $18,964 at Tioga Downs, $194,198 at Del Lago, $374,228 at Rivers and $86,758 at Resorts World Catskills.

It will be interesting when April numbers are reported to see how much appetite there is for New York baseball betting now that the season has started.

EmpireStakes.com is always easy to read for updates and the best New York sports betting promo codes.

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Handle Decrease Streak Ended in March

March’s 0.2% increase of retail handle actually ended a four-month streak of handle decreases for the four locations, since a surge of two consecutive months (September, October) of increases due to the start of football season.

The breakdown follows:
  • Feb. 2022 handle: $6.51M, down 60.6% from Jan.
  • Jan. 2022 handle: $16.54M, down 21.7% from Dec.
  • Dec. 2021 handle: $21.13M, down 1.8% from Nov.
  • Nov. 2021 handle: $21.52M, down 15.8% from Oct.

Increases at the start of football season were significant:
  • Oct. 2021 handle: $25.57M, up 47.3% from Sept.
  • Sept. 2021 handle: $17.36M, up 89.6% from August

Downstate Casinos In New Budget

Last Saturday, the New York State fiscal year 2023 budget was passed and signed by Governor Kathy Hochul.

In the more than $220 billion budget is the inclusion plans for three downstate casinos. Each will be subjected to a bidding and site process that will include New York City’s five boroughs (Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens and Staten Island), Long Island and the Lower Hudson Valley Region, which includes Westchester and Rockland counties.

“The inclusion of the downstate casino licenses in this year’s budget is a win for New York State and the local communities where these licenses will go," State Senator Joseph Addabbo, Jr., a huge proponent of gaming in the Empire State and chairman of the Senate Racing, Gaming and Wagering Committee, said in a statement.

“By allowing three casinos in the downstate region to operate with full licenses, it will create thousands of jobs when considering construction and credible post-construction union jobs. It also means additional revenue for the state, estimated at an initial $1.5 billion from the three license fees, and will allow us to significantly fund important educational and gaming addiction programs.”

It looks like the upstate retail casinos will take another hit when these casinos begin to operate.

It was a good run when you were the only outlet in New York.

That time, clearly, is over.



Lou Monaco

Lou Monaco had been East Coast Scene columnist for Gaming Today in Las Vegas since June 2019, covering the East Coast sportsbook scene with emphasis on NJ and PA. He also currently is a part-time writer for the high school sports department for NJ Advanced Media (NJ.com) in Iselin, NJ. Lou has over 30 years sports experience with previous stints at ESPN SportsTicker, Daily Racing Form and Oddschecker.

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