The Oakland, soon-to-be Las Vegas, Raiders are going to break all kinds of barriers when they officially move to Sin City in 2020. Besides being the first NFL franchise to play in the state of Nevada, they will be located in one of only four states that legally allows sports gambling. Of all of the four major sports in the U.S., the NFL is the most waged upon by far, so could this cause a problem or conflict of interest between the NFL and the Nevada Gaming Control Board? Don’t bet on it.
According to Pro Football Talk, it won’t be easy for the NFL to keep gambling at arm’s length when the Raiders are playing in Las Vegas, and let’s be honest, the NFL knew what they would be up against in terms of wagering well before the owners even voted to give the Oakland Raiders the green light to officially move to Las Vegas.
While the NFL will never come right out and admit it, they thrive off of all of the attention the teams like the Oakland Raiders and the entire football league receives just from the fans who like to wager on the games. Add to that the surge of fantasy football and you are talking about hundreds of millions of dollars exchanging hands every week just on the outcome of an NFL game, or on how well certain players perform.
The NFL may not want folks to have the ability to wager on games from the new Raiders home stadium, but they may not have a say in the end.
ESPN indicates that last week, the Las Vegas Stadium Authority unanimously approved a conditional lease agreement for the Raiders. So all indications would be that the Oakland Raiders will officially become the Las Vegas Raiders in 2020.
Here is where it gets a bit tricky. The Raiders’ new lease includes language that prohibits “any Gaming or Gambling, the maintaining or operating of a Gaming Establishment and/or sports wagering or any wagering on racing or other non-sports events.” That is a common clause for every team in the NFL, however, being in Las Vegas, a place where millions of visitors flock to every year to blow of steam and gamble may put a damper on some fans wanting to see a Raiders game first hand.
While that may be in the NFL bylaws, nothing in the lease blocks access to the mobile sports betting apps offered by the majority of the state’s regulated sports books. So truthfully, how can the NFL stop fans from placing a wager from their tablet or cell phone, which is legal in Nevada, while they are attending the game?
Nevada books have been offering a mobile sports betting option for several years now. This app allows bettors to place wagers from their mobile devices from anywhere inside Nevada state lines.
NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy told ESPN in an email that the Raiders “are required to abide by League rules on the matter.” McCarthy did not elaborate on which rule he was referring to, and the Raiders did not respond to a request for comment.
One possible scenario is that the NFL could ask the Nevada Gaming Commission to prohibit access to the mobile sports betting apps at the stadium using available geolocation technology, but that may not fly well with the NGC. After all, Las Vegas thrives on gaming, and the NFL is the king of all sports.
So far, NGC Chairman Tony Alamo hasn’t been asked to change anything – as of yet.
“The NFL has not approached me for any policy decisions,” Nevada Gaming Commissioner chairman Alamo told ESPN.
“The Nevada Gaming Commission is the policy maker for the state of Nevada and gaming, and they have not approached us in any shape, way or form.”
While this debate may sway back and forth for quite a while, the real solution is simple. Just legalize sports gambling in all 50 states and stop the madness already! Most states, if not all, have multiple casinos, daily lotteries, and other ways for patrons to risk their hard earned dollar. So why is sports wagering such a taboo subject?
Let the people wager if they choose to, if they win a certain amount, let the government take their share, and be done with it.
All of this “hurting the integrity of the game” is a bunch of hogwash. The real truth is that wagering on games, and fantasy football have made millions of people have an interest in the NFL that normally would not, and it has made the NFL millions of dollars as well.
If it wasn’t such a big part of the game, why does ESPN and the NFL Network have weekly fantasy football shows and updated NFL lines every hour?
What do you think NFL fans? Should people be allowed to wager on the Raiders games, or at all NFL games for that matter if they choose so?
[Featured Image by Jamie Squire/Getty Images]