Turning Stone sports betting opens with nod to Syracuse’s 24-second clock
Verona, N.Y. — Bob Carper waited in line today at Turning Stone Casino Resort to be among the first to place bets at the casino’s new sports betting lounge. Carper placed $100 on the University of Michigan football team to win the national title — even though he graduated from arch-rival Ohio State University.
Carper, a VIP Prestige member at the casino, was among frequent players invited to the sports lounge’s grand opening.
“I spend a lot of time here, and this is exciting,” he said, as media, government officials and hundreds of onlookers christened The Lounge with Caesars Sports.
Turning Stone, owned by the Oneida Indian Nation, became the first Central New York casino to offer sports gambling. The nation also opened sports betting today at its Point Place Casino, in the Madison County town of Bridgeport. Sports gambling at the nation’s third casino, Yellow Brick Road, in Chittenango, is scheduled to open before the NFL season starts.
Today’s grand opening at Turning Stone was emceed by Jazz Securo, an actor and World Series of Fighting announcer, and included speeches by nation leader Ray Halbritter and Caesars Entertainment senior vice president Walt Fales, The biggest cheers came for former NHL star Rob Esch, president of the Utica Comets hockey team.
“For decades the Oneida nation has led us down the path of believing in ourselves,” said Esch, a native of Whitesboro, in Oneida County. “They showed us all what could be done.”
Mingling in the crowd were the Comets’ mascot, Audie, and rival Syracuse Crunch’s mascot, Crunch man. Waitresses wearing All-American Girls Professional Baseball League uniforms wove through the crowd of several hundred people in the lobby, offering appetizers from the lounge menu.
Instead of the traditional ribbon-cutting, Turning Stone and Caesars officials pressed down on a basketball built into a bar table. On the 48-by-9-foot television screen behind them appeared Syracuse’s Armory Square, where the 24-second basketball shot clock counted down to zero. The clock was invented in Syracuse.
Speaking of Syracuse, there’s no betting on Syracuse University. New York State Gaming Commission rules allow gambling on college games, but not on any New York state team or any collegiate event held in the state. There’s no online betting in New York, either.
Unlike the slot machines that chimed in the background, Turning Stone’s sports betting lounge won’t generate any revenue for the state or local governments. Under a 2013 agreement, the Oneida nation agreed to pay 25% of slot machine revenue to the state and local counties. That agreement doesn’t cover table games or the sports lounge, said Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente, but the sports lounge could bring more gamblers and more business to the slots.
Oneida County gets about $19 million a year from the Turning Stone slots, Picente said.
The Rivers Casino in Schenectady was the first New York casino to accept sports bets. Rivers Sportsbook opened July 16.