Sports betting begins at Senecas' downtown Buffalo casino

Dec 13, 2019

Months after New York State enacted legalized sports betting, the first such wager was placed at Seneca Buffalo Creek in its newly-opened sports betting lounge. While a specific number was not readily available, Seneca leaders believe the addition of sports wagers will bring a significant uptick in casino revenues.

Seneca Nation president Rickey Armstrong had the honor of placing the first bet, a $40 wager on the Buffalo Bills to win their game Sunday night against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Armstrong bought his bet from a counter, then held up his ticket before a cheering crowd, while nearby automated kiosks were standing by to accept payments for bets on professional leagues including the National Basketball Association, National Hockey League and English Premier League.

"Our surveys and our studies have shown that it's what the public's clamoring for," said Armstrong. "They're clamoring for us being able to bet here. Some would rather do the apps but I think a brick-and-mortar store here would be great. I think it's monumental for us and the community as well as for Buffalo."

The Seneca Nation opened its casino within the Buffalo city limits (on what is now sovereign Seneca land) 14 years ago. Armstrong says the casino, the neighborhood and Buffalo waterfront have developed greatly since then. While he couldn't offer a specific number, he and others are expecting legal sports betting will lead to a generous uptick in casino revenues.

"This will be the first lounge to open with two to follow at Allegany and at Niagara," said Holly Gagnon, Seneca Gaming Corporation president and chief executive officer. "Those dates are coming out soon."