Mobile sports betting could take place in NFL stadium while DFS remains largely out of the state
Legal Sports Report

You Might Be Able To Bet On NFL At Las Vegas Raiders Stadium, But Not Play DraftKings, FanDuel

DFS vs sports betting Nevada
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The new Las Vegas Raiders stadium — scheduled for completion in 2020 — sets up an interesting dynamic for gambling and the NFL.

Namely, sports betting is legal in Nevada, while daily fantasy sports exists only in a limited fashion via the state’s existing gaming laws.

Reporting from ESPN indicates that the state’s casinos and sportsbooks expect mobile Nevada sports betting to be able to take place inside the Raiders’ stadium.

That leaves the possibility that you could bet on games while attending an NFL game, but not play DFS.

The Vegas stadium + sports betting = ?

The Las Vegas Stadium Authority approved a lease for a yet-to-be-built stadium last week. That lease reportedly had language that basically shuts out all forms of gambling from being offered on the premises.

That does not appear to be the case for mobile sports wagering, however, per ESPN:

However, according to the stadium authority and Nevada gaming officials, nothing in the lease blocks access to the mobile sports betting apps offered by the majority of the state’s regulated sportsbooks.

How likely sports betting is to actually happen in stadium when the Raiders arrive is a matter for debate. But we do know where DFS stands in the state.

But little paid-entry fantasy sports in Nevada

The vast majority of the DFS industry — including DraftKings and FanDuel — does not serve the state. That came in 2015 after the state’s attorney general opined that DFS is gambling under state law and requires a gaming license.

Almost no one has applied for such a license. The only DFS platform even operational is USFantasy, a pari-mutuel product available via some of the state’s sportsbooks. (That will eventually include a mobile app. So far, the offering has remained a niche one, with about $100,000 in handle each month.)

The status quo is not likely to change, as Nevada has shown little willingness to change its laws to fit the fantasy sports industry as currently constructed.

As it stands now, you would not be able to enter contests at a DFS site (other than USFantasy), but you might be able to put straight-up wagers on games.

Is sports betting in the Vegas stadium a likely outcome?

What will the NFL do, if anything, about possible wagering in the stadium?

The NFL holds games in London, where gamblers also have mobile sports betting options. Sports betting kiosks in Wembley Stadium are not operational during the games, however. (Of note: DFS exists as a regulated gambling product in the UK.)

But the NFL has said it continues to oppose legal US sports betting even while moving a team to the only place in the US where it’s legal. (Commissioner Roger Goodell is on the record saying the regulated sports betting environment in the state could be beneficial, however.)

Given that opposition, it’s not difficult to imagine that the NFL would try to push back on the presence of mobile wagering at Raiders games. How that might manifest itself is not altogether clear, but it would likely involve asking the Nevada Gaming Control Board to limit mobile betting. (For instance, the NFL could ask that sports betting operators use geolocation to prevent sports bettors from accessing apps while inside the stadium.)

If sports betting is allowed, it’s fascinating that you could bet on NFL games (something the NFL opposes) at the games, but not play DFS (something the NFL generally supports).

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.

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