Changes may be coming to Super Bowl environment in Las Vegas

Savor Super Bowl Sunday.

It might not look the way it does this year ever again.

Westgate sports book director Jay Kornegay expects bettors will shatter last year’s Super Bowl handle of $138.5 million, which topped the previous year’s record by $6 million.

One of the reasons gaming experts say people will bet more than ever before is because bookmakers have developed a menu of proposition bets for every taste.

It isn’t just about whether New England or Philadelphia wins. You can bet who will win the opening coin toss. And Super Bowl bets are crossing over into other sports. Example: Who will be taller, the hockey player who scores the first goal in Sunday’s Vegas Golden Knights-Washington Capitals game or the football player who scores the first touchdown in the Super Bowl?

The push to legalize sports wagering nationwide has gained traction, and advocates are patiently awaiting the Supreme Court to announce their decision on whether the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act should be struck down.

If it is, several states have indicated they will take measures to pass legislation to enable sports betting. Among the most aggressive in that pursuit have been the states of New Jersey and Pennsylvania, with New Jersey, which already has a large casino infrastructure in place, vowing to be open before the start of the 2018 football season.

There would be a lot to accomplish in the six months between Super Bowl Sunday and the kickoff to next season, but it’s likely a makeshift operation could be set up, and grander pieces could in place by Super Bowl LIII.

If you’re an Eagles fan, where better to watch this year’s game with a couple thousand of your best friends who are betting on the outcome at a local sports book?

While nationwide sports books could take a bite out of Nevada’s handle, there’s another theory advanced by Pat Christenson, president of Las Vegas Events, the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority’s planning arm for private events.

At a recent LVCVA board meeting, Christenson shared what he thinks will happen when Las Vegas becomes an NFL city — presumably, in 2020, when the Oakland Raiders relocate to the 65,000-seat stadium being built off Interstate 15 and Russell Road.

Christenson has been one of the ramrods for the National Finals Rodeo, the Super Bowl of rodeo, which occurs in Las Vegas every December. In recent years, attendance for 10 days of events has surpassed 170,000 with more than 200 straight sellouts.

But there usually are thousands more who come to Las Vegas to take in the rodeo ambience. They stay at rodeo-sponsoring resorts and attend fan events where closed-circuit telecasts of the action are presented.

And they have a blast.

Christenson expects that when the Raiders get to Las Vegas, every home game is going to be like Super Bowl Sunday with parties that could include appearances by Raider legends and massive screens showing the action.

Like the spinoff events for the rodeo, it’s likely to start small, but grow with each passing season.

And in the years when the Raiders are competitive and could go to the playoffs and possibly the Super Bowl, the atmosphere would be electric.

As popular as the Raiders are in Las Vegas’ biggest tourism market, California, the potential for regular Super Bowl-like parties could draw thousands of Raider Nation loyalists staying in hotels, eating at restaurants and placing wagers at our sports books.

Contact Richard N. Velotta at or 702-477-3893. Follow @RickVelotta on Twitter.

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