Nevada sports betting mobile apps likely impacted by Raiders lease agreement
Legal Sports Report

If All Bets Are Off At Las Vegas Raiders’ New Stadium, What Does That Mean For Sports Betting?

Vegas stadium sports betting
The Las Vegas Stadium Authority approved a lease agreement on Thursday for a stadium to be built for the Raiders when they arrive in town.

The lease has a bit of a hiccup for casinos in Nevada, and for sports betting in particular, as all forms of gambling are supposed to be banned in the confines of the stadium.

What the Raiders lease says on gambling

The Las Vegas Review-Journal had the full details on the lease for a stadium the city hopes to have built by 2020.

Perhaps not shockingly, all forms of gambling are to be banned from the NFL stadium. From the LVRJ:

Gaming. In response to concerns raised last week by board member Bill Hornbuckle, an MGM Resorts International executive, gambling is banned from the stadium.

That apparently includes any “mobile gaming system” and any “sports pool.”

It’s not shocking that sportsbooks or kiosks in the stadium would be banned, given the NFL’s public opposition to sports wagering. But it does bring up logistical concerns for Nevada sports betting.

How will mobile sports betting be handled at the Raiders stadium?

The lease agreement brings up an obvious problem for sports betting in the state.

Namely, a number of casinos and sports betting operators have mobile sports betting apps. That includes MGM (via its playMGM app) which apparently orchestrated the gaming ban in the lease.

So if you can’t have any form of legal gambling in the building — including legal sports betting of any type — how does this square with the lease?

According to the stadium authority, mobile sports betting isn’t a problem:

It’s not clear how the broad language banning gambling in the lease agreement above meshes with this statement, however. Sports betting, even though some define it as a game of skill, is still gambling in Nevada.

And, as Purdum pointed out the NFL hasn’t yet signed the lease.

How mobile sports betting could work, even with a ban

Even if it were banned there would be a couple of potential workarounds:

  • The ability to place wagers via mobile sports betting apps and websites could be turned off when the stadium is open for NFL games.
  • Geolocation could be employed by apps to make sure no one in the vicinity of the stadium can place wagers while. This is how operators block people from playing outside of Nevada already. This method is also utilized by legal New Jersey online casinos.

The second option seems like the far more effective and likely of the two. Of note: There is also legal Nevada online poker in the state. In order to keep online gambling out of the stadium, geolocation would also be a solution.

The approach to gambling in the stadium will be different from regulated sports betting markets in other jurisdictions. For instance, in the UK, you can bet on games at kiosks located inside soccer stadiums. (They are closed when the NFL plays games at London’s Wembley Stadium, however.)

The NHL’s Las Vegas Golden Knights will start play this year. If there is a ban on mobile sports betting in T-Mobile Arena, it hasn’t been publicized.

The Raiders and sports betting

There’s also the possibility that the NFL asks state regulators to take Raiders games off the board entirely, outside of the stadium agreement.

But the NFL hasn’t signaled any desire to do that, and there’s no guarantee Nevada would abide by such a request. The timeframe is such that it could be 2020 until any such request is even made.

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Dustin Gouker
- Dustin Gouker has been a sports journalist for more than 15 years, working as a reporter, editor and designer -- including stops at The Washington Post and the D.C. Examiner.