Pennsylvania’s sports betting scene is getting some competition from its neighbor to the north.
The latest challenge comes from FanDuel Sportsbook at Tioga Downs Casino Resort. That sportsbook fully opened Friday, with New York State Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo placing the ceremonial first bet around 2:30 p.m. A soft launch occurred earlier last week.
FanDuel Sportsbook will be second to open in NY
Rivers Casino in Schenectady, New York also opened its sportsbook earlier this week. The Schenectady casino is a sister property of Rivers Pittsburgh and the soon-to-be rebranded SugarHouse, all of which are operated by Rush Street Gaming.
FanDuel Sportsbook at Tioga Downs is located near the northeast PA border, about 30 miles south of Binghamton, NY and just 15 minutes from the Pennsylvania state line.
It is in prime position to lure some PA customers considering the closest Pennsylvania sportsbooks are Hollywood Sportsbook in Harrisburg and Parx Sportsbook in Bensalem, both of which are about three hours away.
Sports betting should expand, but online betting is still on hold
The four commercial casinos are now approved in New York, but none have been approved for online betting yet. Tioga Downs sportsbook will offer
- Seating for more than 50 customers
- Eight betting windows
- 14 self-service betting kiosks
- 27 video displays
Bettors will be able to wager on all major professional sports and a variety of contests. However, New York laws prevent gambling on in-state colleges, so Syracuse, Army, Buffalo, St. John’s, and Cornell will be off the books.
PA’s betting tax is much steeper than New York’s
Pennsylvania’s main advantage over its northern neighbor lies in online betting, which is legal in New Jersey as well. In those states, mobile bets often account for roughly 80-percent of the overall handle.
However, the New York properties should benefit from a much more generous tax arrangement. In Pennsylvania, the state takes 34 percent of sports betting revenue in taxes. In New York, the state is expected to take less than 16 percent of the revenue in taxes, giving sportsbooks a potentially wider profit margin and more marketing dollars to offer promos and bonuses.
FanDuel Sportsbook at Tioga Downs will also benefit from the infrastructure and experience provided by the other FD properties. FanDuel operates a highly successful location at the Meadowlands Racetrack in New Jersey and opened a second retail sportsbook at Valley Forge Casino Resort earlier this year.
Can all these sportsbooks get along? Yep
Pennsylvania currently has eight brick and mortar sportsbooks and a mobile betting landscape that is developing rapidly.
But with the appetite for mobile betting, and perhaps New York’s more beneficial tax rate, all three sports betting neighbors (New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania) can likely coexist. The shared infrastructure utilized by many of the casino/sportsbook properties will allow for streamlined costs and adequate profit margins.
How big will New York betting get?
A more interesting development to follow would be to monitor how much further New York’s sports betting expands. Will the Empire State grow past four sportsbooks? Will New York eventually greenlight online betting?
Until then, Pennsylvania’s extra betting opportunities should keep the Keystone State ahead of its competition.
But from a broader perspective, there’s room for both to succeed.