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Odds are, Seneca Gaming will be busy this Super Bowl

Seneca Gaming Corporation
Sports betting terminals at Seneca Niagara.

The Buffalo Bills won't be making an appearance, but with an estimated 100 million television viewers, Sunday is one of THE days to bet on sports.There was a time when sports betting involved the guy sitting in the back booth of a neighborhood bar or some cubicle in an office. Now it’s online or in giant bettor parlors with massive screens featuring sporting events. An increasingly legal system of sports betting exists for those who want to put cash down on the outcome of a game or of some aspect of the game.

Seneca Gaming Corporation has sports betting lounges in each of its three casinos and Gavin Mercado is its executive director of sports book and interactive gaming. He said betting brings in customers.

"Buffalo Creek is in close proximity to the First Niagara Arena. We saw last year, a lot of the guys and girls that were going to the game were stopping in the sports bar before, stopping back after to collect their winnings or placing another wager in a game coming up next," Mercado said. "I think just in our general area, we see a lot of foot traffic."

Credit Michael Mroziak / WBFO News
Seneca Nation President Rickey Armstrong made the first bet on a Buffalo Sabres game when sports betting began at Seneca casinos in December 2019.

Mercado said Buffalo Bills fans were supporting the team with their bets. He said customers will bet on any sport and any activity taking place in a game, from rugby to tennis to a surprisingly strong interest in the NBA.

There will be 300 ways to bet on the Super Bowl.

"Is this like betting on the 8th Pole? Not really, because we still don’t know what’s going to happen, right? It depends on when you get the line, where you get it at," Mercado said. "Some people actually prefer to come in after the kickoff, watch maybe the first quarter, watch the first half, and then place a wager because they feel like they know exactly what’s going to happen at the end."


Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.
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