Fantasy sports betting gets OK from Nevada regulators

CARSON CITY — State gaming regulators gave approval Thursday to a proposal by longtime Las Vegas gaming veteran Vic Salerno that is expected to lead to the return of daily fantasy sports betting in Nevada as early as August.

The Nevada Gaming Commission approved the licensing application for his company USFantasy to provide a menu of daily and weekly fantasy sports contests that will include the NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL, NASCAR, PGA Tour and other sports using a pari-mutuel betting system.

The vote to grant the off-track, pari-mutuel sports system operator’s license was unanimous by the commission.

Salerno’s fantasy sports program is unique because it relies on the betting system used in horse racing

“Since a framework already exists this is no different than betting a horse,” Salerno said in testimony to the commission. “The casino benefits are that it attracts new players, new customers; and brings them another revenue stream and new and exciting different propositions than we’ve done before.

“The target market of course is going to be the millennials,” Salerno said.

Gaming Commission Chairman Tony Alamo said the concept “is proof-positive that we already have the mechanism in place to do this.”

“I see that you do have transparency because you can follow the odds,” he said. “You know where the movement is. By looking at what the odds did, you would know what people were doing.”

Salerno’s offering would vary greatly from existing fantasy sports contests operated in other states by DraftKings and FanDuel, the nation’s two largest Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) operators. Both stopped offering the contests in Nevada after Nevada gaming regulators in October banned unlicensed DFS websites from providing the service to Nevada customers, arguing that it constitutes sports betting.

A.G. Burnett, chairman of the Gaming Control Board, told the commission he is awaiting a proposal by the big fantasy sports operators for moving forward in Nevada.

USFantasy plans to launch the concept in Nevada casinos’ race and sports books and ultimately expand to states across the country through racetracks and even lotteries to create larger nationwide pools.

“I have talked to several of the casinos and I have not heard one negative thing about it,” Salerno told the Review-Journal in a recent interview. “They all seem to want the product added to their menus.”

It won’t be the first time daily fantasy sports would be offered in Nevada sports books.

Frank Taddeo, who works at Metric Gaming, created a daily fantasy sports program that was offered at several casino sports books through the gaming company formerly called Cantor Gaming, now CG Technology.

Taddeo said the books offered professional football, baseball and basketball betting for about a year in 2012 and 2013 before it ended because of issues unrelated to the product.

“It was pretty popular,” he said. “I would say over 14 months we took in in excess of seven figures of handle and the company had profits in the six figures.”

Contact Sean Whaley at swhaley@reviewjournal.com or 775-461-3820. Find him on Twitter: @seanw801

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