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Vegas to Allow Event Betting

18 February 2011 by admin

Sports-BettingAs brick and mortar casinos continue to lose business to their online counterparts, they are scrambling to catch up and get in on that business. That’s why casinos in Las Vegas and New Jersey decided they wanted to get online casino licenses. Bookmakers face a similar problem, though. Nevada is the only place in the United States where you can gamble on sports, with the exception of betting on races at the horse and dog track and other pari-mutuel facilities. While that gives casinos in Vegas a kind of monopoly on sports betting, they are still behind the online sportsbooks.

Sports betting is popular at Vegas casinos, but the subject matter for bets is pretty limited. You can only bet on the outcome of sporting events. You can bet on a team, a boxing match or whatever, but no prop bets and no “event bets.” All of that changed, though, when the Nevada Gaming Commission’s regulations were amended.

Under the new rules, event betting is legal. That means sometime in the future, people in Nevada casinos will be able to bet on things like who will win at the Oscars, who will be elected president and more. Such event bets are popular at online sportsbooks and online betting exchanges, but had never been legal in the United States.

Jimmy Vaccaro, Director of Lucky’s race and sportsbook, explained the situation to Covers.com. Often a tourist walks into his business, looks at the betting board and odds sheets and then approaches the window, asking how to bet on American Idol or the Grammy Awards. Vaccaro says that “the cold, dark answer we used to give back to anyone who asked a question like that would simply be, ‘we can’t book anything like that.’”

As you’re probably aware, it’s not good business to turn away business. That’s why there was a movement, spearheaded by people like Mike Colbert, Director of Cantor Gaming, to legalize event betting. Cantor admits that allowing event betting probably won’t result in a huge increase in revenue, but says that “anything that creates more action I’m in favor of.”

It will take some time before event betting is found in Nevada, though. Although it is now technically legal, it is not yet regulated and the Gaming Commission has not decided how to regulate it. The regulators will have to come up with ways of ensuring that sportsbooks are offering fair odds and preventing cheating.

The sportsbooks in Vegas are hoping that they will be able to offer event bets in time for the World Series of Poker, for which the Main Event begins in late May. Wynn Las Vegas could be poised to become the top spot for betting on the Grammys and Oscars, since the casino has offered entertainment-only (meaning “no real money”) betting on those events for more than a decade.

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