There was a precedent set Monday for a much-anticipated ruling in the sports gaming industry when the United States Supreme Court struck down the federal ban on sports betting outside of Nevada.
The ruling paves the way for other states to legalize betting on college and professional sports.
Although Nevada is the only state with a well-established sports gambling industry, gaming experts do not anticipate a negative impact on local sportsbooks.
For the past 25 years, sports betting outside Nevada was illegal until the monumental decision came down Monday morning.
“I think it gives people a little bit less of a reason to come here,” Westgate patron Joe Paven said.
But, industry experts say sports betters like Pavan have nothing to worry about.
“I know some people think of it as a threat and take our monopoly away but there’s others like myself that look at it as an opportunity,” said Jay Kornegay, the vice-president of Race & Sports Operations of Westgate Las Vegas. “There’s other jurisdiction across the country that we’ve love to see the super-book brand located in.”
With that said, standalone casinos in Nevada may take a hit, according to Dennis Gutwald, a former investigator with the Nevada Gaming Control Board.
“Because they can’t benefit from the gaming that’s offered nationally, where are the regional firms can,” Gutwald.
Gutwald believes casinos can offset losses with new players. The nationwide legalization of sports gambling is expected to attract a new wave of betters.
“What you might see is what you saw in poker which is more people start doing it outside Nevada, more people do it when they come to Nevada,” said Dave G. Schwartz, the Director for UNLV Center for Gaming Research.
Schwartz says sports betting makes up only two-percent of the states gaming revenue. Meanwhile, an estimated $150 billion is illegally gambled every year in the country.
Gaming experts believe as states kick-off sports betting, the black market will suffer, but say it can take a few months, if not years to implement regulations.
Some states have already passed legislation anticipating a ruling in favor of lifting the ban.
“I think it’s our right as Americans to be in a free country to be able to do something like bet sports,” Paven said.
Most casinos on the Las Vegas strip are applauding the high court’s ruling, including MGM properties, Caesars Entertainment, and of course, customers at the Westgate.