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UNLV to host sports gaming seminar

With the prospect of sports betting being legalized nationwide, UNLV is hosting a two-day seminar in April to help regulators and policy makers understand its dynamics.

Attendees will hear from experts on sports wagering covering topics such as the history of sports betting, federal sports betting laws and the impact of off-shore betting. Participants will also visit a Las Vegas sports book.

The intensive seminar will be conducted April 6th 7th by UNLV’s International Center for Gaming Regulation.

According to Jennifer Roberts, the center’s associate director and an adjunct professor at the William S. Boyd School of Law, the interest and support for a new approach to sports betting has gained momentum from key stakeholders, including law enforcement, state governments and fans who bet a record amount of money on Super Bowl 51. The seminar is geared for industry leaders with an interest in sports betting, legislators, policymakers, tribal and state government officials and gaming regulators.

“We did it last fall and recognized there was a need among a lot of the jurisdictions with the potentiality for sports betting to be legalized,” said Robert Horgan, the center’s operations director. “If you don’t live in Las Vegas, you don’t know a lot about sports betting. It’s basic 101 about sports betting, the legal and regulatory ramifications about it. I guess you would say it’s a professional development course.”

The prospect of nationwide sports gambling has gained traction after the Supreme Court asked the Trump Administration to weigh in on a New Jersey challenge related to PASPA, the 1992 law referred to as the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act.

The federal law prevents state governments from legalizing sports gambling in all but four states — Nevada, Delaware, Oregon and Montana. Only Nevada is allowed to offer traditional single-game wagers, while the others are limited to parlays with multiple team wagers.

Several states have passed resolutions or legislation calling for the right to develop sports betting and NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has urged Congress to adopt a federal framework allowing states to authorize betting on professional sports. The American Gaming Association has backed the legalization of sports betting.

“Given the timeliness of it now, things after the election have changed that make it a little more likely,” Horgan said.

A similar session held in October drew more than 15 people, and Horgan said 25 to 30 people are expected this time around. People attended from Michigan, Massachusetts and Oregon with most of attendees being regulators, he said.

“We have positioned the course to be helpful to people investigating the opportunity when and if the laws change,” Horgan said. “We put the course together to provide a non-biased education for people in a jurisdiction that had never had an understanding of the history of why sports betting got the way it is. It answers how Las Vegas is the center of it operationally and legally and what are the statutes that regulate. If things change, and there has been a lot of challenges at the state judiciary level, what do policy makers in other regions need to know should they want to pursue that.”

Daniel Wallach, a gaming and sports law attorney based in South Florida with the firm Becker & Poliakoff, said the seminar is an important and timely topic in an area of the law that’s going to be fluid.

“This course recognizes the increased interest nationally in the subject of legalized sports betting, and there are a lot of lay people who don’t understand how it works and the legal aspects of how it’s regulated. It’s a brilliant idea, and the timing is perfect for it.”

On March 7th, President Donald Trump nominated acting Solicitor General Noel Francisco to permanently fill the post. It requires Senate confirmation.

Wallach said Trump naming the solicitor general is important because he will influence the future of the New Jersey sports betting case. He has been asked to weigh in and file a brief on the merits and if the Supreme Court decides to hear the case, PASPA could be ruled unconstitutional in 2018. That would open the door for states to pass their own legislation legalizing sports betting, he said.

“UNLV is agnostic and is a research institution and does not take a formal position on it, but the time appears to be coming,” Roberts said. “It seems to be on a lot of people’s minds with the AGA coming out the way they did.”

The International Center for Gaming Regulation in partnership with the International Gaming Institute and Boyd School of Law has three main missions, Roberts said. One is to conduct research into regulation and encourage best practices and excellence in regulation. Two is to provide education about regulatory best practices, gaming law and regulation. Third to be a think tank for gaming law and regulation.

The center has designed courses for pre-license investigations, fundamentals of gaming regulation, anti-money laundering, e-sports, and casino audits.

The seminar will be held in Stan Fulton Building, 801 E. Flamingo Road. The program costs $925 and includes breakfast, lunch and a trip to a sports book.

Day one features an overview of sports wagering. That includes, the history of sports wagering, sports wagering in America, federal sports wagering laws, types of sports wagers, sports wagering participants, how Nevada does sports wagering, account wagering and a visit to a Las Vegas sports book.

Day two covers risk management and layoff wagering, the impact of off-shore sports wagering and technology, sports integrity issues, daily fantasy sports and compliance issues.