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Wagering on Las Vegas Raiders a sure bet

Updated April 1, 2017 - 11:20 am

Once it became clear last week that the National Football League had cleared a path for the Raiders to relocate from Oakland to Las Vegas for the 2020 season, some hand-wringing re-emerged on the topic of betting on the team.

Will bettors be able to wager on the Las Vegas Raiders?

National commentators raised some doubts, so it’s time to clear the air about what’s known as Regulation 22, Nevada’s gaming rules addressing sports pools.

Regulation 22 is a 22-page document that outlines betting on sporting events in Nevada books, covering everything from registration of book employees to requirements for cash on hand to pay winning wagers.

The regulation that specifically addresses betting on pro teams in Nevada is Regulation 22.120, “prohibited wagers; exception for an event other than a horse race, greyhound race or an athletic sports event.” The key section is 1(d), and it reads:

“No wagers may be accepted or paid by any book on … any event, regardless of where it is held, involving a professional team whose home field, a court or base is in Nevada, or any event played in Nevada involving a professional team, if, not later than 30 days before an event or the beginning of a series of events, the team’s governing body files with the commission a written request that wagers on the event or series of events be prohibited and the (Nevada Gaming) Commission approves the request.”

That’s a little convoluted, so here’s a simple translation: If a team’s governing body — in this case, the NFL — asks the Nevada Gaming Commission to take a game or season of games off the board 30 or more days prior to the start of the season, the five-member commission would have to consider it.

In all likelihood, such a request would require a hearing in a public meeting.

The NFL would have to make its case for specifically removing Las Vegas Raiders games from the boards. There’s no doubt the state’s race and sports books would oppose such a proposal, and precedence and history would be on their side.

While NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell stated publicly that the league opposes gambling on its games, the stance seems to have softened in the past few months. If Goodell were to take a request to the commission, he could meet considerable headwinds.

In November, Gaming Commission Chairman Tony Alamo addressed the issue of betting on Raiders games and said he’d be hard-pressed to agree to banning bets.

“I can’t speak for the commission, but growing up in the gaming industry and trusting the integrity of the gaming industry, I have total comfort in allowing sports betting on any teams, whether they are here in Nevada — in Las Vegas, Reno or otherwise — or in other locations,” he said.

“The fact that the Raiders come from Oakland to Las Vegas doesn’t move my needle in any direction in terms of should we allow that to be on a sports book board or not. Nothing changed for me.”

Based on that, there’s little doubt we’ll be betting on Raiders games.

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

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