Heightened interest in the Las Vegas NBA Summer League also resulted in more betting at some Nevada sportsbooks.
NBA Summer League sees uptick…
The Summer League is an opportunity for young, developing players to get some action, and doesn’t always move the needle.
This year, it got more than its usual level of attention, including setting a record for attendance by a wide margin. Much of the interest appeared to coincide with the Los Angeles Lakers‘ team making a run at the title and the play of No. 2 overall draft pick Lonzo Ball.
The presence of the teams in Las Vegas draws some level of betting every year, but Nevada sports betting saw an uptick as well.
…and so does Nevada sports betting
Sportsbooks contacted by Legal Sports Report did not include dollar amounts on wagering, but did provide insight into year-over-year changes.
According to William Hill US, handle — including straight bets, futures and in-play betting — was up nearly 100 percent over 2016. Similarly, tickets/unique bets were up about the same. William Hill noted that 16 percent of wagers were on the Lakers.
Westgate told LSR it didn’t see as much of an increase of wagering on full games, but said overall handle was up about 40 percent, with the addition of booking bets on the first and second halves, something it didn’t do previously.
Meanwhile, games in Vegas + sports betting = not the end of the world
The NBA Summer League provides an interesting perspective on the larger sports betting debate in the US.
Games and betting on them have been going on in Las Vegas, and that hasn’t led to a scandal or any threat to the integrity of the games. Indeed, the presence of Nevada’s regulation of sports betting provides transparency and insight into the betting markets that wouldn’t exist otherwise.
The NHL and the NFL are moving franchises to Las Vegas; the Golden Knights start play in hockey this fall. That leads to the question of whether those leagues will attempt to stop betting on their games:
Leagues have until 30 days prior to event to request betting on Vegas franchises be prohibited. Golden Knights’ first preseason game: Oct. 6
— David Payne Purdum (@DavidPurdum) July 26, 2017
It’s also interesting that you can also bet on Summer League games inside the arena where games are played, via mobile sports betting apps. (That’s something that it appears NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell hadn’t pondered before the league agreed to move the Raiders to Vegas.)
Some of the commissioners of the major leagues have expressed concern about what the presence of betting in sporting venues could mean. Obviously, it hasn’t hurt the NBA Summer League.