The tribe owns three casino properties in the area, which include Turning Stone Resort Casino, Yellow Brick Road Casino and Point Place Casino. All three casinos are clustered around the city of Syracuse.
The partnership will cover both licensing and branding at the three properties. The plan is to open the Lounge with Caesars Sports sometime in 2019.
The deal will also allow loyalty club members for both companies to exchange and redeem player points freely. The two clubs will also match tier levels for crossover patrons.
In a press release, Oneida Indian Nation Representative and Nation Enterprises CEO Ray Halbritter had this to say:
“When it comes to sports betting, Caesars is in a class of its own. We are pleased to be joining forces with this world-renowned gaming leader. Like Oneida Nation Enterprises, Caesars has built its business on exceptional service, as well as a dedication to constant innovation. These shared values create the perfect synergy for a meaningful long-term partnership.”
The elephant in the room
Of course, a partnership between two big companies is a great thing. Certainly, the deal extends the reach of both the Oneida Nation and Caesars into areas they’ve previously not been.
However, the entire partnership and resultant lounge facility depend on the passage of favorable legislation and regulations in New York. At present, sports betting remains mostly illegal under New York law.
Technically, voters approved legal sports betting in the Empire State all the way back in 2013. Unfortunately, the referendum that they passed only allowed sports betting at the state’s four commercial operations.
Efforts to expand the legal situation to all in-state properties have failed so far. As recently as the summer of 2018, legislators have not been able to agree on any sports betting bill.
It seems that lawmakers cannot agree to establish a regulatory scheme for sports betting in the state until sports betting becomes a statewide freedom. As a result, both the commercial casinos and tribal entities remain handcuffed in a sort of legal limbo.
Nearby activity may inspire action from New York legislators
This legislative failure has been especially galling in contrast to the wild success that neighboring New Jersey has enjoyed. There’s no doubt a significant portion of New Jersey’s sports betting traffic (particularly at the Meadowlands) has come from cars with New York license plates.
Nearby Pennsylvania has also begun accepting sports wagers recently, further increasing the pressure on New York lawmakers. Based upon its population alone, the Pennsylvania sports betting market has the potential to eclipse New Jersey’s success.
Obviously, both Oneida Indian Nation and Caesars feel that state legislators will make something happen in 2019. Caesars Executive Vice President of Gaming and Interactive Entertainment Christian Stuart said as much:
“When it comes to partnerships, Caesars seeks collaborators who share our commitment to exceeding guest expectations, and we are confident that “The Lounge with Caesars Sports” at Turning Stone, Yellow Brick Road Casino and Point Place Casino will be a top sports betting destination in New York.”