Mistakes will happen, but we’re still in the early innings of the legal sports betting game By Howard Stutz, Executive Editor, CDC Gaming Reports March 5, 2019 at 9:07 pm Since the U.S. Supreme Court allowed legal sports betting to expand across America 10 months ago, the race has shifted from a full-on sprint out of the starting gate to a steadier, more gradual pace. Seven states quickly joined Nevada in opening sports wagering facilities at casinos and racetracks; three jurisdictions legalized the activity but are still formulating their sports betting regulations. Overall, nearly two dozen states either have legislation floating through their statehouses or are considering their options. Not all ideas, however, are good for the gaming industry. Take New York, for example. Last week, an assemblyman proposed legislation allowing for in-person wagering inside the state’s sports venues, such as Yankee Stadium and Madison Square Garden. That idea should be quickly relegated to the trash pile. Washington D.C., which approved sports betting last year, also plans to allow on-site gambling at its stadiums and arenas. City leaders should scrap the plan. Nevada gaming laws have long stated that gaming can’t be conducted in a location that charges a cover fee to get in the building. Legally, gaming has to be accessible. It’s spelled out in Nevada Gaming Regulation 5.210: A licensee may not, directly or indirectly, restrict access to any portion of an establishment wherein gaming is conducted, through the assessment or imposition of a fee, except upon receiving prior written administrative approval from the chairman consistent with policies of the commission, or as approved pursuant to NRS 463.408 This is why any discussion about placing a sportsbook or slot machines inside the under-construction $1.8 billion Las Vegas Stadium that will house the relocated Oakland Raiders in 2020 is just mindless chatter. Last I checked, fans still need to purchase tickets to attend a National Football League game. Besides, mobile sports wagering takes care of any in-venue wagering issues. Since sports betting launched in New Jersey, mobile wagering has accounted for as much as 72 percent of all wagers. In Nevada, mobile sports wagering is credited with growing the state’s sports wagering handle every year since 2010, a sum that reached $5.01 billion last year. I would imagine football fans have already utilized their mobile devices for in-game wagers on the New York Jets or New York Giants inside MetLife Stadium on the grounds of New Jersey’s Meadowlands Sports Complex. Vegas Golden Knights fans have certainly utilized their mobile betting accounts inside the T-Mobile Arena, which actually sits off the Strip behind the New York-New York and Park MGM resorts. Not only does putting a sportsbook inside Yankee Stadium makes no sense, it might also cause an issue for New York’s casino operators. MGM Resorts International recently spent $890 million to acquire the Empire City Casino and Yonkers Raceway with the state’s shifting view toward legal sports betting in mind. The same goes for the state’s four upstate casinos, which have been approved for sports betting but are still awaiting regulations. New York does have one significant issue concerning mobile sports wagering; the state constitution might have to be amended for the activity to be legalized. The lawmaker who wants Yankee Stadium to book bets has said Governor Andrew Cuomo may no longer hold that view, which would make mobile wagering easier to come by. That said, there are myriad questions concerning the sports books at stadiums concept: Who operates the sportsbooks and assumes the risk? What are the security measures? Will there be off-site locations? There’s no simple solution. There have been mistakes with legal sports betting; as with any new industry, there are always speedbumps. Mississippi, for example, screwed up the state’s mobile wagering laws by requiring a customer to be on property to place a wager. So the idea of convenience is out the window. The Associated Press reported on Sunday that California, Florida and Texas are unlikely to legalize sports betting any time soon due to internal squabbles, both politically and amongst gaming interests. Moreover, the professional sports leagues haven’t completely given up on the idea of introducing integrity fees – taking a piece of the gambling action, in other words. Major League Baseball’s recent ill-advised request that state gaming regulators ban betting on Spring Training games fell on deaf ears. When the one-year anniversary of the death of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act is reached, we’ll have a slightly clearer definition of legal, national sports betting success. Hopefully by then, some of the mistakes will have been cleaned up. Howard Stutz is the executive editor of CDC Gaming Reports. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @howardstutz on Twitter.