The Oneida Indian Nation will reopen their sportsbooks July 22. They resumed gaming, some restaurants, and other activities at its three casinos in Central New York on June 10.
The three sportsbooks, each called The Lounge with Caesars Sports, will reopen at Turning Stone Resort Casino in Verona, Yellow Brick Road Casino in Chittenango, and Point Place Casino in Bridgeport. The Oneidas have a sports betting partnership with Las Vegas-based Caesars Sports.
They noted the reopening was tied to the restart of the NBA and MLB seasons. The sportsbooks will follow health and safety protocols and limit customers to 50% capacity. The casinos created a plan called the Safer Together Reopening Health & Safety Plan.
Why Tribal Casinos Can Open
New York Indian casinos are fortunate to reopen. Tribal casinos are not tied to Governor Andrew Cuomo’s executive orders. This allows them to operate freely, although Cuomo keeping commercial casinos closed within the state. The news also comes at a time when the four New York private casinos announced that there would be layoffs coming this fall if they remain closed past September.
Although the tribes are not tied to the executive orders, their health and safety guidelines are similar to what New York has in place. Following the guidelines will help keep customers safe and reduce the risk of spreading of COVID-19.
The Oneidas casino protocols will also include enhanced cleaning measures, HVAC air changeover levels will be maintained at a significantly greater capacity, and will cancel all shows due to potential mass gatherings in the event center. They will also not allow guests who are coming from 22 states listed in their guidelines.
Is the Timing Right?
The Oneidas should be thrilled to have sports betting at their casinos, especially during a time when sports are set to return at the end of July. However, there is a chance that the reopening could be short-lived in Oneida County.
The coronavirus pounded New York earlier this, and the number of cases are coming in at some of the lowest numbers in the country. However, Oneida County is starting to see those numbers rise slightly.
The county saw 18 new cases as of Wednesday, which was the second-highest single-day increase for July. Oneida County sits around five cases for every 100,000 people, as of writing this.
The numbers are still low but are trending in the wrong direction, especially for a business that needs the foot traffic to operate. The statewide positivity rate is still very low at less than two percent.
Oneida casinos will need to monitor the situation within their county to make sure they can remain open and take bets, especially during the restart of U.S. sports.