Attorneys with the state Gaming Control Board and American Wagering will tinker with the language of proposed amendments to a race and sports book regulation over the next three weeks with the hope of clarifying rules on complimentary giveaways.
The Nevada Gaming Commission on Thursday directed the Control Board to convene workshop meetings. Board members got right to it, meeting later that afternoon with proponents of the revisions. Regulators hope to have a revised regulation in place before the May 7 Kentucky Derby.
When Nevada race books began offering rebates on wagers to entice bettors, some California tracks, which weren’t allowed to give rebates on their bets, retaliated by threatening to black out broadcasts of their races to Nevada.
In order to keep off-track wagering alive in the state, regulators forbade books from offering refunds or rebates to a bettor on any portion of a pari-mutuel wager. But they did allow books to grant room, food, beverage or entertainment admission as comps for players.
When California later lifted its own ban on rebates, Nevada’s restrictions remained in place. Control Board officials told industry leaders if they wanted to modify the regulations, they would consider changes.
American Wagering, which operates the William Hill Race & Sports Book franchise in Nevada, stepped up with regulatory amendments that would list specific comps that could be offered.
The company was concerned that small promotional items, such as T-shirts and hats, are technically against the rules, but race books across the valley routinely give them out at big events.
American Wagering’s proposed amendment to Regulation 22 spells out that officials can’t “prohibit the granting of room, food, beverage, racing data, tobacco or services, including spa services, movies, bowling and entertainment admission that are offered by the book on the premises of the licensee where the book is located or offered by an affiliate licensee, all without limit with respect to the value of such goods or services.” The list also includes limousine or car service to the casino and merchandise valued at less than $100.
Board member Terry Johnson, who conducted the hearing, encouraged American Wagering attorneys to meet with the board’s lawyers to craft language that would keep comps flexible enough for books to offer promotional materials without violating the regulation.
There was no opposition to American Wagering’s proposal.
Regulators hope to address the proposal at the Control Board’s April 6-7 and the commission’s April 21 meetings in Carson City.
Contact Richard N. Velotta at email@example.com or 702-477-3893. Find him on Twitter: @RickVelotta.