Las Vegas Sun

October 15, 2018

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Sports wagering evolving locally, across the nation

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Las Vegas Sun

Bettors stand in line to make wagers during the NCAA basketball tournament. A new law allows business entities to bet on sports, as well.

Change is coming to Nevada sports books.

At the state level, lawmakers recently approved a bill that allows groups of people to place wagers as a single entity.

Meanwhile, the industry is preparing for an even bigger transformation at the national level: the spread of legal sports betting throughout the country.



In Nevada

Senate Bill 443, passed by the Legislature this spring and signed by Gov. Brian Sandoval in June, permits business entities to place wagers at sports books. The idea is business partners can come together and marshal their resources to place bets for the benefit of the group.

The bill requires business entities to provide sports books with personal information for everyone who could profit, including proof that each bettor is at least 21 years old. Business entities also must submit formation documents, keep records of wagers and maintain a Nevada bank account — meaning groups of friends or family members can’t claim to be a “business entity” and place group bets.

CG Technology, which runs eight sports books in the Las Vegas area, pushed for the measure to expand business options for sports books. Company Vice President and Deputy General Counsel Quinton Singleton called it an “untapped opportunity” for the sports-betting industry and compared it to the stock market. Singleton said he expects interest in such wagering to be significant, though he said he couldn’t predict how widely it would catch on.

Other sports book operators also said they’re still figuring out how big of a deal entity wagering will become.

“Right now, we’re looking to see how it evolves, but we’re taking a wait-and-see approach,” said Joe Asher, CEO of William Hill US, which runs more than 100 sports-betting spots in Nevada.

Jay Kornegay, vice president of race and sports operations at the Westgate Las Vegas Superbook, is taking a similar approach. He wondered whether sports books would extend high betting limits to business entities — and was inclined to think they shouldn’t.

“We’ll see what the rules are, what the parameters are, and we’ll go from there,” Kornegay said.

Asher and Kornegay will get more clarity once state gaming regulators start receiving public input on the regulations. Gaming Control Board Chairman A.G. Burnett said the process is moving forward.

State lawmakers also decided this session to let Nevada sports books run operations in other jurisdictions.



Nationally

Someday, Nevada might not be the only state with a full-fledged sports betting industry. The question is: How quickly will that day arrive?

Under current federal law, Nevada is the only state with full-fledged sports books. Sports betting exists in a handful of other states on a limited basis.

New Jersey wants to change that, and if a federal appeals court allows the state to have sports-betting operations in racetracks and casinos, other states likely will try to follow suit. Even if the court denies New Jersey’s effort, sports betting likely will continue to expand — just at a slower pace, said attorney Daniel Wallach, an expert in sports law.

“I’ve always maintained that the New Jersey decision is critical because it will indicate a long way toward determining when we have legal sports betting throughout the United States,” Wallach said.

A decision in the New Jersey case is expected anytime but hadn’t been made as of press time.

Asher isn’t concerned about losing business if sports betting gets off the ground outside Nevada. In fact, his company has a deal with Monmouth Park Racetrack to operate sports betting if the industry is legalized in New Jersey.

Kornegay also was bullish about the possibility of sports betting growing beyond Nevada. He said he didn’t think other states would be able to offer the same experience as Las Vegas, giving people plenty of reasons to continue visiting. He also said residents of other states already bet on sports — illegally — and he expects sports betting to become legal throughout the country.

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