Olympics Gambling Coming To Vegas In 2016

In a recent vote, the Nevada Gaming Commission approved wagering on Olympic events effective immediately. According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, the decision was unanimous.

Reasons For The Change

Fox 5 in Las Vegas reported that the influx of professional athletes into Olympic competitions, such as NBA basketball players and NHL hockey players, is one of the reasons for the change.

In addition, Vegas bookmaker Jimmy Vaccaro recently told NPR that Nevada had fallen behind the times on the issue. “You can bet the Olympics in the rest of the world,” Vaccaro explained.

Amateur Sports Gambling Controversy

Nevada previously banned wagering on the Olympics in 2001 during a push by Nevada Senator John McCain to ban gambling on all amateur sporting events. Nevada allows betting on college sports, and more than $1.7 billion was wagered on college and pro football in 2014, according to Nevada Gaming Control.

Filling A Gap

While the new law will not have material impact until the 2016 Summer Olympics, sports bookers are looking for big money when the Olympics roll into Rio de Janeiro next year.

“With more than two out of every three Americans having watched the London Olympics in 2012, the games in Rio have the potential to make a sizable impact in August of 2016, like we saw last June with the World Cup, ” William Hill sports book CEO Joe Asher said in a recent statement.

The summer months are typically a low time of year for sports betting in Vegas, as the NBA and NFL are both out of season.

Stock Plays

Las Vegas Sands Corp. LVS 0.35%, MGM Resorts International MGM 1%, Wynn Resorts, Limited WYNN 0.19% and Caesars Entertainment Corp CZR 1.76% all have a heavy presence on the Las Vegas Strip. Boyd Gaming Corporation BYD 3.02% operates three Downtown Las Vegas casinos, but also offers mobile sports wagering.

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