Las Vegas Welcomes The Spread Of Sports Gambling – NPR


People place bets at the Sports Book at the South Point Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.

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People place bets at the Sports Book at the South Point Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.

Leila Fadel/NPR

At MGM Grand Las Vegas, a bookmaker takes bets on sports events at the round counter at the Race & Sports Book near the casino. Hockey is among the games being broadcast on 47 flat screens above while gamblers sit in leather seats to watch and strategize.

For years, Las Vegas has held a fairly exclusive lock on legal sports gambling like this in the U.S. But a Supreme Court decision to strike down an act that effectively banned it in most of the rest of the country now means other states can permit and regulate it, too. And while that means more competition for Las Vegas, casino executives and longtime bookmakers in Nevada are welcoming the decision. They say permitting sports betting is good for everyone in the industry. Besides, they say, people come to Las Vegas for more than that.

On this day, Kevin Olson and Josh Sturm are on a guys’ trip, mostly to play cards and golf. The sports betting is just the icing, they say.

“Honestly, there’s a lot of avenues online that you can use, and people that we know and myself use online sports betting quite often,” Sturm said. “So it’s really, it’s not a lucrative thing that we have to come to Vegas just to be able to do it.”

Sturm is referring to the millions of people already betting online. The American Gaming Association estimates that people bet $150 billion on professional and college sports illegally every year.

But Sturm prefers to gamble and make bets in person.

“You know you always wonder ‘is there some element of cheating?’ I guess,” he said.

And soon enough, Sturm and his friends might be able to make these bets — legally and in person — closer to their homes in Austin, Texas.

“If something opens up in Texas,” Olson says, “I feel like I would be doing a bit more sports betting just year-round. Not just here in Vegas.”

But he’ll still head to Las Vegas for the experience: golf, cards, slots, shows, restaurants. And that is what bookmakers and casino executives are banking on. They hope that Nevada will be a model for newcomers to the regulated sports betting industry.

Yes, we’ve enjoyed a monopoly or a near monopoly on sports betting, but Las Vegas benefits when there there’s interest in our field, in our field of entertainment sports, sports betting, gambling in general,” said Jim Murren, the chairman and CEO of MGM Resorts International. “It will promote activity, increase fan interest in the team, in the sport, in the league which we believe will in turn increase their interest in going to the sports mecca of sports betting and gambling: Las Vegas.”

Murren says people were also worried about Las Vegas when legal gambling went to other states and to Native American reservations.

“And yet Nevada has grown through that period of time,” he said.

MGM hopes to expand sports betting to its other properties in the United States and its online betting app. And with it becoming a legal and regulated industry, Murren said, it’s just one more step toward erasing the stigma often attached to the industry as predatory.

“The traditional view of the casino industry is starting to evolve, but it will be viewed much differently five years from now and this will be a major reason why,” he said.

Currently, sports betting is a drop in the bucket of money made in Nevada off gaming. In the last fiscal year, Nevada took in $688.6 million in a tax fee on gambling and just over 2 percent of that came from sports betting according to the Nevada Gaming Association.

The association welcomed the ruling and offered its expertise to other states that will be regulating sports betting.

But what does this mean for bookmakers like Jimmy Vaccaro, who has been doing this work for 41 years?

“It’s a big day,” Vaccaro said at the South Point Hotel and Casino just off the Las Vegas Strip. The in-house satellite radio station praised the decision as enlightened.

“Now with it being nationwide, it’s going to have an impact, there’s no doubt about it,” he said. “It will be a little less only because if you live in California, you don’t have to run over here to make a bet, you could do it right from there.”

There will be fewer people through the doors. But “there will be plenty of opportunities a lot of other places for people like us to, in a sense, run their book for them, only because of what we have done, only because the way that we do business, only because of what we do and how we handle it,” he says. “We will get opportunities. I think the opportunity will outweigh drastically the little part that we lose people coming to the South Point.”

All day, Vaccaro has been in meetings discussing the decision.

There is a lot to be ironed out to make sports betting lucrative — from state taxes in other places to whether the leagues get a cut of the bets.

Bookmaking has changed since Vaccaro started decades ago — betting has moved online and there is a higher cost to air professional football games. But bookmakers adapt, he says.

“We’re always reinventing ourselves.”



Insider: What Romeo Langford, Adidas relationship means for IU basketball – Indianapolis Star


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New Albany’s Romeo Langford chooses Indiana University.
Clark Wade/IndyStar

BLOOMINGTON – The perhaps never-ending scandal cutting a path across college basketball grazed Indiana on Tuesday.

A lengthy piece in the Washington Post, published online around lunchtime, detailed a financial relationship between Adidas and Tim Langford, father of McDonald’s All American IU signee Romeo Langford. The basic thrust: The apparel company had, according to former Louisville coach Rick Pitino, funded an AAU program coached by Tim Langford, and that Adidas agreed to do so to maintain its influence with Langford’s NBA-prospect son.

More: Why Romeo Langford means so much to basketball in Indiana

More: How Archie Miller landed Romeo Langford, against the odds

Cutting through the inevitable hysteria, from Indiana’s perspective, there’s not much there, at least not yet.

That’s not to discredit the Post’s story, which is well-reported and revealing, while also measured and balanced. It makes a case and makes it well — Adidas, in an effort to keep Romeo Langford under its umbrella, agreed to sponsor an AAU team run by his father.

Romeo Langford sat flanked by family during a groundbreaking ceremony in Kevin Hammersmith Park that will feature a basketball court named after the New Albany High standout. 5/11/18 (Photo: Marty Pearl/Special to Courier Journal)

It’s not that that’s not news. It is news. It’s just that, at least in addressing questions about Romeo Langford’s eligibility, his potential college career and the ripple effects on IU, none of it appears to be illegal or against NCAA rules.

Pitino himself, quoted heavily in the Post story, told the Louisville Courier-Journal on Tuesday, “I don’t think they did anything wrong,” referring to Adidas’ decision to sponsor Twenty Two Vision, Langford’s AAU program the summer before his senior year of high school.

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Romeo Langford of New Albany earns IndyStar Mr. Basketball

More: ‘Romeo Langford’ graduated from the Kelley School of Business, thanks to an IU prankster

This isn’t the first time Indiana has been touched by all this.

In late February, on the night of IU’s regular-season finale against Ohio State, Yahoo! Sports reported that ASM Sports agency associate Christian Dawkins — one of the central figures in the FBI’s criminal investigation into college basketball corruption — claimed through internal communication to have had contact with former IU assistant coach Chuck Martin.

Dawkins appeared to suggest to another employee of ASM Sports, the agency employing him, that he was attempting to trade favors with Martin. He would steer elite recruit Brian Bowen to Indiana, in exchange for Indiana steering soon-to-be NBA prospects Thomas Bryant and OG Anunoby to ASM.

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Insider Zach Osterman and columnist Gregg Doyel discuss Romeo Langford’s decision to play for Indiana University.
Clark Wade/IndyStar

Bowen never visited Indiana, nor was he ever reported as a serious IU target. Neither Bryant, nor Anunoby, signed with representation under ASM’s umbrella. Responding to an open records request from IndyStar, Indiana University said it had no record of contact between any ASM employee and Martin, or any other member of IU’s staff at that time.

Perhaps IU is just lucky. Perhaps there is another twist to come. Perhaps the relationship between shoe companies and college basketball has become so intimate and pervasive that it will be hard for any major program not to be brushed by this.

Tuesday’s Washington Post story, though, didn’t really reveal anything not already either known or presumed.

And the social media reaction, while unsurprising, felt distinctly Casablanca, with Claude Rains telling Humphrey Bogart he’s “shocked” to find gambling going on in Bogart’s café, as a croupier hands him his winnings.

Follow IndyStar reporter Zach Osterman on Twitter: @ZachOsterman.

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Guam hosting wrestling championships, four-time Olympic gold medalist – Pacific Daily News


Duane M George, dmgeorge@guampdn.com
Published 1:23 p.m. ChT May 16, 2018

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For more information email sports@guampdn.com or call 479-0415.
Pacific Daily News

The Guam Amateur Wrestling Federation will host the United World Wrestling Oceania Championship May 18-19 at the Leo Palace Resort Ballroom — and the island also will welcome a four-time Olympic wrestler from Japan.

The championship will feature wrestlers from American Samoa, Australia, Federated States of Micronesia, Marshall Islands, New Zealand, Palau, Tahiti and Guam competing in freestyle and Greco-Roman wrestling, male and female divisions, according to a news release.

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Freestyle wrestling will begin at 10 a.m. May 18, while the Greco-Roman wrestling is slated for 10 a.m. May 19. Both events are scheduled to begin weigh-ins at 7 a.m.

Events are open to licensed United World Wrestling competitors who have registered though their national federations, the news release stated. The events also will serve as a Youth Olympic Games qualifier for athletes under 18 years of age, who will represent the region in Buenos Aries Oct. 6-20.

Olympic champ

The More Than Medals Camp, featuring 10-time world champion and four-time Olympic champion Kaori Icho, will be held May 21-28 for registered cadet athletes. Icho took Olympic gold in 2004, 2008, 2012 and 2016 — the first female in any sport to win individual-event gold at four consecutive Olympics, the news release stated.

The event is sponsored by Ernst & Young, Pacific Amusement Inc., Leo Palace Resort, Pro Ink, Gracie Barra Guam, Coffee Slut, Let’s Ride and Stroll Guam.

LEARN MORE

  • For additional information contact Tony Aquino at 687-1493.



Vikings to become first NFL team to host summit on LGBTQ inclusion – USA TODAY


The Minnesota Vikings will become the first NFL franchise to host a large-scale summit focused on the inclusion of LGBTQ athletes in sports.

The event, scheduled for June 21 at the Vikings’ new practice facility, will include panels featuring gay, lesbian and transgender athletes and coaches, including Olympic diver Greg Louganis, triathlete Chris Mosier and former NFL defensive tackle Esera Tuaolo. The audience is expected to include 200 athletes, high school and college coaches and members of LGBTQ organizations from the Twin Cities.

“I think it sends a message that we at the Vikings, and others, believe in being inclusive,” Vikings chief operating officer Kevin Warren told USA TODAY Sports. “My hope and desire is that this inspires individuals, this inspires businesses and corporate entities, and inspires sports teams, in all sports, to really sit back and say, this is a fact of life. This is reality. We have individuals who may be in pain on our teams. They may not feel they have an opportunity to talk about these issues, and hopefully this is the spark to get some of these issues out on the table and allow people to become more comfortable in addressing these issues.”

More: David Tepper: Five things to know about the man likely to buy the Carolina Panthers

Former Vikings punter Chris Kluwe, who has been a longtime advocate of LGBTQ rights, has advised the team during the planning of the summit and will also participate in the event. Kluwe in 2014 threatened to sue the Vikings after he said an assistant coach made homophobic remarks. He also alleged that his activism led to his release in 2013. Kluwe settled with the organization in 2014, and the two sides have worked in the years since to mend their relationship.

“Ideally, it’s not just one team doing it — it’s something that a lot of teams are looking at it and saying, ‘Hey, we can do something like this,’” Kluwe told USA TODAY Sports. “Hopefully it goes off really well for the Vikings. Regardless of my situation with them and how that ended, the big goal is to make sure that other athletes don’t have to go through that situation and that LGBTQ athletes are able to be who they are.”

The NFL has not had an openly gay player on a roster since former Missouri defensive end Michael Sam was drafted by the St. Louis Rams in 2014. Sam did not make the Rams’ regular-season roster, but briefly spent time on the practice squad of the Dallas Cowboys and in the Canadian Football League.

“Hopefully the big take away is that having LGBTQ individuals in your locker room isn’t the end of the world, right? This is something that lots of teams are dealing with, especially at the high school and college level, and it’s hopefully something we see teams starting to address more at the professional level,” Kluwe said. “For me, that’s particularly the NFL, but the other major organizations as well, it’s that we want openly out gay players to be able to play. It shouldn’t be that you’re frightened to be who you are while you’re trying to pursue this immensely difficult athletic career.”

Samantha Rapoport, the NFL’s director of football development, said the summit is the first of its kind for any team, though other franchises have worked with LGBTQ organizations like You Can Play in the past. She said the Vikings’ event, which also includes a fundraiser for local and national LGBTQ charities, is the latest step in the league’s effort to be more inclusive of LGBTQ athletes and employees. The league will also have a float in the New York City Pride parade this year for the first time, and it recently established an NFL Pride Affinity group.

“I think the unknown is what hinders progress in general as it pertains to including any minority group, so I think that what this event is going to do is it will normalize the discussion around LGBTQ inclusion,” Rapoport said. “I think the power that football has in this county to do that, the fact that the Minnesota Vikings are leading this, I think will hold a lot of weight and certainly advance that in people’s minds.”

Follow Lindsay H. Jones on Twitter @bylindsayhjones.

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Las Vegas as host of College Football Playoff title game considered 'premature' – USA TODAY


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SportsPulse: Did your team make USA TODAY Sports’ college football post-spring top 25? Paul Myerberg breaks it all down.
USA TODAY Sports

When the Supreme Court ruled Monday that the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) was unconstitutional, and that each state should be able to decide if its residents are allowed to bet on sports, everyone in college sports had the same question. 

 

How soon can a national football championship and/or Final Four get to Las Vegas? 

According to College Football Playoff executive director Bill Hancock, it’ll be awhile. 

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The CFP announced in November title game sites for 2021-24. Hancock told USA TODAY Sports on Tuesday that it will likely be “at least two years, maybe more, before we start thinking about the next round” of site selection. 

“It’s premature for me to even comment on it because we haven’t talked about it at all,” Hancock said, adding that as of now, Las Vegas does not have a facility that could accommodate a national championship football game. 

But it won’t be long before there will be. Construction a new stadium to accomodate the NFL’s Raiders move from Oakland is scheduled to be completed by fall 2019. 

“I suspect we’re going to want to know that the building is in place, or will be in place, at least a couple years before we go there,” Hancock said. “I don’t think we’ll be awarding any cities where theres’s a stadium under construction — what if you have delays?”

Even if it’s a few years away, Hancock understands the buzz around the Supreme Court’s decision, and the anticipation about how the ruling could, and likely will, dramatically alter the college sports championship landscape.

“We’re always gonna be excited about a new world class stadium,” he said. “That’s the bottom line for us: Let’s give our athletes the chance to compete in a really cool place … a lot of things will happen before our term comes up, in particular what does the NCAA do (about its bylaws). We’ll be watching.” 

IMAGES FROM COLLEGE FOOTBALL SPRING GAMES

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