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Tioga Downs FanDuel Sportsbook Review: Bet on Sports in Nichols, NY

NY State Map

We here at Professional Rakeback are primarily poker players, but this doesn’t mean that we’re opposed to other forms of real money gaming. With that in mind, we recently headed over to the Tioga Downs Casino Resort in Nichols, New York to check out the new sportsbook. It’s operated in conjunction with FanDuel and lets patrons place wagers on sporting events from within the casino facility.

Tioga Downs Sportsbook Review

Website: https://www.tiogadowns.com/gaming/sportsbook/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/tiogadownscasinoresort/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/tiogadownscasinoresort
RSS: http://feeds.feedburner.com/tiogadowns
email: info[at]tiogadowns.com
Telephone (General Casino): (888) 946-8464
Telephone (Direct Sportsbook #): (607) 414-1129
Location: Nichols, NY (about 30 miles west of Binghamton)
Hours: Mon – Thurs, 10am – 1am, Friday, 10am – 2am, Saturday, 9am – 2am, Sunday, 9am – 1am
Promos: None
Seating: More than 50 seats for patrons
Betting Windows: 8
Betting Kiosks: 14
Live Betting: Yes
Mobile Betting: No
Video Displays: 27
Other: Some seats have phone chargers

Background

Pages of Paper

Tioga Downs Casino Resort dates back to 1976, but the original racetrack was shut down after just a few years because of its unprofitability. The current incarnation of Tioga Downs came about when it relaunched in 2006 after a change in state law permitted it to host video lottery terminals in addition to its traditional horse racing activities.

Harness Racing in Nichols, NYHarness Racing at Tioga Downs

In 2015, the owners received permission to add casino table games, which they did in 2016, including a small poker room for good measure. In November 2017, a hotel was launched onsite, transforming Tioga Downs into a full-fledged casino resort.

The newest type of wagering to come to the Nichols, NY-based gambling hall is sports betting. Following the May 2018 Supreme Court ruling in Murphy v. NCAA, individual states gained the right to legalize and regulate betting on sports. Though there is some gray area, most legal authorities believe that existing state law already allowed for sportsbooks to open, so the only thing remaining was for the New York Gaming Commission to draft the necessary regulations – completed on June 10, 2019 – and issue the relevant licenses.

Supreme Court Justices in 2018Supreme Court Justices Responsible for the Murphy Decision

On July 19, 2019, Tioga Downs unveiled its new sportsbook. The space occupies 2,600 square feet and is run in partnership with FanDuel.

Betting Windows

Golden Dollars

When it comes to making your bets in the FanDuel sportsbook at Tioga Downs, you can fill out your selection on one of the preprinted “Quick Slips” provided by the house. Then bring this paper along with your money to one of the eight betting windows.

Betting Windows at Tioga Downs SportsbookFanDuel Betting Windows in the Sportsbook

These Quick Slips, which are available for the most popular sports offered, are generated anew every morning with a list of match odds and spaces for you to mark what you want to wager on and how much. Of course, the lines are subject to change from what they were when these pages were printed, and your bet will be booked at whatever the current odds are rather than what’s shown on the sheet.

Betting FormsBetting Forms List the Schedule and Odds for the Day's Events

Betting Kiosks

Betting Kiosks

We’re guessing that most of our readers will prefer to make their picks using one of the 14 self-service betting kiosks located within the sportsbook. These machines were developed by IGT PlayDigital. They let you view up-to-the-minute betting prices and make your wagers yourself without having to rely on casino staff.

Betting Kiosks at TiogaSelf-Service Betting Kiosks

To begin using one of these kiosks, you need to insert your money into the terminal. Your balance will update from $0 to reflect the amount you put in.

Betting Kiosk Balance DisplayYou Can See Your Balance and Withdraw It If You're Finished Betting

Then choose which sport you’re interested in from the menu running down the left side of the screen. You will then see the live and upcoming contests for that sport in the center of the screen.

There still seem to be a few glitches to be worked out on these kiosks. A couple of times, when we selected a sport, the center part of the display became blank, and we could not view any games. We ended up having to cash out our balance, retrieve the voucher the machine gave us, and redeem it at one of the betting windows. We then took our money to a different kiosk and proceeded to bet without any further difficulty.

Tioga Downs $10 VoucherYou Can Cash Out Your Money and Get a Voucher

Only a few possible bets per game will be shown by default. But you can press “MORE WAGERS” next to each competition to bring up a full menu of bets.

Baseball Games for BettingSome of the Upcoming Baseball Games Available for Betting

Once you’ve identified a market you’d like to put action on, choose it from the touchscreen. Then you’ll be able to select your wager size. The system will inform you of how much you stand to win should your wager prove successful. Press “Place Bet” when ready to finalize your bet.

BetslipAll Relevant Information Is Shown on the Electronic Betslip

You will receive a printed bet voucher. Keep this safe because you’ll need to present it later at one of the betting windows to redeem your winnings (if any).

Bet Tickets From Tioga Downs SportsbookKeep Your Bet Tickets Handy so That You Can Easily Collect Your Winnings

We don’t have any further insight into the process of trading in winning tickets for cash because our hitherto-beloved-but-now-reviled Toronto Blue Jays and Cincinnati Reds failed to live up to our expectations. We’ve observed though that you have up to a year to collect your profits, and you can even mail in your vouchers to get payment if you don’t feel like returning to Tioga Downs within that time.

Mobile Betting

Mobile Screens

Unfortunately, there’s no mobile or online betting possible at Tioga Downs. This isn’t the fault of either casino management, FanDuel, or tech provider IGT.

What’s to blame is the strict legislative and constitutional gambling climate in the State of New York. Betting is only allowed at the commercial and tribal physical casino locations dotted throughout the state. Because internet wagers would not take place at one of these facilities, they are prohibited.

There has been a lot of discussion lately about the feasibility of inaugurating legal NY mobile betting, but any such development would take a while to appear. There’s even a respected school of legal thought that holds that the state’s constitution would need to be amended before this could happen. It looks like the only online sports betting that New Yorkers will be able to enjoy in the near future will be that offered by “gray market” bookmakers.

Betting Menu and Wagering Limits

List
Baseball Prop List
Some of the Baseball Props Within the Exhaustive Betting Menu

We were unexpectedly surprised by the number and types of wagers available particularly props. The Tioga Downs sportsbook compares pretty well in this respect to what you’ll find elsewhere. The listing of futures is also impressive.

It’s a different story when it comes to the betting limits though. The IGT kiosks had minimum wagers of $5 and maximums of $3,000 on most bets.

This is probably fine for most bettors, but casual sports fans might appreciate the ability to bet $1 at a time or even less, which is definitely possible at most offshore online bookmakers. High-rollers will also likely be underwhelmed by the maximums in effect and will instead go somewhere else to book the sizable wagers that they desire.

Another missing element is NYS collegiate athletics. According to the rules drafted by the Gaming Commission, games involving New York colleges are off-limits to sportsbooks, and so are those involving out-of-state schools if they take place inside New York borders. Fans of Syracuse, SUNY Buffalo, and St. Johns won’t be able to scratch their gambling itch at Tioga Downs or any other brick-and-mortar betting lounge anywhere else in the state for that matter.

Ambiance

Sports Dollars

The FanDuel sportsbook at Tioga Downs coveys a feeling of spaciousness and vibrancy. The live sports action streaming continuously across 27 screens, along with three tickers crawling with the latest scores, undoubtedly contributes to the atmosphere of excitement while the high ceiling makes the room appear larger than it actually is.

Sportsbook Video FeedsOne Entire Wall of the FanDuel Sportsbook Is Covered by Monitors

Though most of the seats are little more than glorified bar stools, there are about a dozen comfortable lounge chairs arranged directly facing the front wall, which is covered almost entirely by big-screen video displays. On the sides of the lounge chairs are chargers for your phones, tablets, and other devices.

Food and drink service keeps you well-fed and -watered as you contemplate the contests unfolding on the screens before you. There are sadly no restrooms within the sportsbook itself, but they are present no more than a minute’s walk away within the Tioga Downs lobby.

Really, the only thing marring this sports betting environment is the fact that it’s not open all the time. If you prefer your sporting action around-the-clock, 24/7, then your best bet is to find a reputable internet sportsbook and make a deposit today.

Poker Room

Poker Cards

Though this review is focused on the sportsbook at Tioga Downs, we’d be remiss if we didn’t at least mention the poker games. Unfortunately, there’s not much to mention.

There’s a scheduled tournament every day of the week, but they’re almost all low-stakes affairs with buyins of $50 and below. There are only six tables inside the room, so total MTT participation is effectively capped by the number of seats available, resulting in prize pools that rarely exceed $10,000.

Tioga Downs Poker RoomTioga Downs Poker Room

Even worse, dealing cash games is sometimes impossible because all tables are being used for a tournament! When we arrived for a session of poker on a Sunday afternoon, there were no cash games running for exactly this reason. We had to join the interest list and wait about an hour for the tourney field to be whittled down a bit before the ring game began.

The Tioga Downs website claims that it spreads “Texas Hold’em: Limit and No Limit, Omaha: Limit and Pot Limit, both High/Low and High only, Stud: 5 or 7 card including both High and Low games.” However, based upon the smallness of the poker arena and general population tendencies, we’d be surprised if there’s ever more than one non-NLHE game active.

At least the sparseness of the player pool will help you chase the various poker promos that are available. High hand bonuses, random seat draws for prizes, and a bad beat jackpot (albeit a fairly meager one) give you the chance to pad your bottom line.

Close But no Cigar

Down Slope Chart

Tioga Downs and FanDuel have certainly put forth a credible effort with their co-branded sports betting parlor. Yet, it falls just short of the mark despite having great potential.

Most of the drawbacks to betting in this venue are caused by the regulatory burdens imposed by the state authorities. Until some of the more irritating of these restrictions are overturned, we believe that sports betting online represents a superior solution for most of our visitors.

To find out how and where you can make sports bets online, browse over to our rundown of reputable USA offshore sportsbooks. If you’re instead longing to play cards, then our guide to New York online poker rooms is surely worth the time it would take to read it. If you live in another state, then this informative page on internet poker for Americans will probably enhance your knowledge of this topic.

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