Las Vegas Sun

November 28, 2015

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Betting on presidential elections? Nevada state senator says its time has come

If a Nevada state senator gets his way, gamblers could have a new kind of horse race to bet on.

On Monday, Las Vegas Democrat Tick Segerblom, D-Las Vegas, introduced a bill in the Nevada Legislature to legalize betting on federal elections.

“Simply to make money for the state,” said Segerblom, chairman of the state Senate’s Judiciary Committee, when asked why he was pushing the law. “I’ve been following elections and betting in London, and (gaming companies there) are making a fortune. Why not do it here?”

Segerblom said betting on the presidential election is “one of the biggest moneymakers in all of betting outside the United States,” something to which gaming company executives have testified. A few days before last year’s presidential election, Irish bookmaker Paddy Power told CNN it had more than $1.6 million in bets placed on the presidential election, including who would win head-to-head and who would win different swing states.

The law would allow betting on Senate, congressional and presidential campaigns. Segerblom said he would be open to allow bets on state elections as well, and said the law could also allow bets on the Academy Awards and other cultural events.

He dismissed concerns of corruption.

“Let’s be frank here. You’re not going to throw a federal election in the United States,” Segerblom said, noting sports gambling hasn’t led to widespread corruption: “What’s unique about football? Has football been corrupted? I don’t think so.”

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