Football fans head to Rivers Casino to legally bet on games for the first time in NY

September 06, 2019 10:01 AM

ALBANY – The first game of the 100th season of the National Football League took place Thursday night. For the first time in history, people could place legal bets on the game in New York State.

According to the American Gaming Association this year 7 million American say they will bet legally at a casino sportsbook. That’s 1.2 million more people than last year.

Rivers Casino in Schenectady was packed with people placing bets. It’s one of the four casinos in the state where people can place bets on sports games.

“Football is king in the betting world,” said Hal Wafer, the Sportsbook Manager at Rivers Casino. “People really have grown up on it and they're used to knowing about it knowing a lot of information and now they're able to wager on it so it gives them an extra level of excitement where they're able to participate in it.”

Wafer said football is the most popular sport for people to bet on. The sports betting lounge at Rivers Casino includes 14 self-betting kiosks and six betting windows. There were lines for both Thursday night.

"I think it's wonderful for not only the casino, but for all the patrons that come in that they have a revenue place where they can make a small bet or a large wager and get paid right after the game,” said Kitrick Bailey who placed a bet Thursday.

Ryan Russell of Albany said he has already been enjoying the legalization of sports betting even before the NFL season.

"Yesterday I brought in like $700 and with the parlay with the college football, which are pretty much a sure win this coming Saturday I should bring in an extra $800,” said Russell.

New York was the 14th state to legalize some form of sports betting, but some say it took too long.

“New York's been behind the eight ball as far as sports betting,” said Bailey.

Now that it’s finally here, Wafer said he expects a busy football season and he said if people are hesitant to bet for their first time at the casino, they shouldn’t be.

“We have a few kiosk ambassadors that will help you through it,” said Wafer. “How to wager, how to place a wager. Any questions you may have even behind me at the live betting counter we'll be right there to help you walk you through the whole process.”


Emily De Vito

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