While much of the world’s gaming media is focused on the nascent legal sports betting sector in the US, the one state that’s been taking legal wagers longer than any other has remained largely silent. Nevada had what amounted to a monopoly on legal sports betting under the old PASPA regime and, just prior to the strike down of the federal Act, many observers were citing it as a possible blueprint for other states to follow as they sought to introduce regulated operations.
Jay Kornegay, vice president of race and sports book operations at Westgate Resorts, believes that Nevada could still unlock some interesting solutions for those seeking to get sports wagering up and running. Operating out of Nevada, legal sports betting is already something his company is well versed in. “I’m surprised that legislators/decision makers outside of Nevada haven’t inquired with more with our operators,” he told SBC Americas. “We’ve been accepting wagers for over 40 years in this state and could offer valuable insight when other jurisdictions draw up their regulations.”
Nevada remains well placed, geographically at least, where sports betting is concerned. And as Kornegay puts it: “It’s pretty much business as usual here.” His view, however, is that the activity is garnering a much higher profile, adding: “Sports wagering interest has escalated to new heights. I can only think the national expansion will benefit Nevada operators.”
Kornegay also has a view on the leagues’ proposed integrity fee on sports betting. Based on four decades of sports wagering in Nevada the evidence seems to suggest that integrity is not the big issue that the leagues are saying it is. “Most of the integrity protection takes place where the wagers are accepted,” he said. “Along with our own team that monitors all wagers, we have auditors/compliance that review daily transactions and look for any suspicious activity. Again, this happens daily and both sides of the counter are reviewed. With that said, I believe the operators and leagues should have a closer relationship.”
One of the big headline grabbers more recently has been a move by some such as senators Hatch and Schumer to call for Federal rule of sports betting. On that front, Kornegay simply stated: “I believe the states will be able to regulate sports betting for the best of the industry.”
Much has been said about the margins in sports betting and whether or not the removal of PASPA would create a sports wagering gold rush. Is a sportsbook simply another amenity within the overall gaming experience at a casino or race track as some observers point out, or is its true potential being downplayed? By way of a final word, Kornegay responded: “For a long period of time, sportsbooks were viewed as just another amenity. However, with the recent surge in interest, the sportsbooks have become a huge contributor to the bottom line. The entertainment value for guests is like no other.”