Gov. Sandoval: Legal sports betting nationwide strengthens Nevada Howard Stutz, CDC Gaming Reports · June 9, 2018 at 2:01 pm One might believe Nevada’s governor would be hesitant to see other states legalize sports betting, especially since Nevada’s casinos took in a record $4.87 billion in sports wagers a year ago, a figure that has more than doubled since 2010. So why give up the virtual monopoly? Gov. Brian Sandoval doesn’t view nationwide sports betting as a threat to the Silver State, just another enhancement for an industry that’s more vibrant than when he took office in 2011. “Las Vegas will continue to be better and stronger than ever,” Sandoval said. “I have always said to other governors that we are ready, willing and able to assist. We have been doing this forever and we’re proud of our regulations… we’re the gold standard and we’ll be helpful in any way.” Sandoval, a Northern Nevada Republican, said he was personally supportive of New Jersey’s effort in the U.S. Supreme Court to legalize sports betting and was happy with the outcome that opened the doors for other states. “Hopefully, (expanded sports betting) will eliminate the billions of dollars that are bet illegally,” Sandoval said. Gov. Sandoval joins Gaming Arts CEO David Colvin, Chief Technology Officer Eric Colvin and Leif Colvin at the ribbon cutting. The governor’s second and final term ends in January, but Sandoval isn’t coasting into the sunset. Last week, he took part in the ribbon cutting ceremonies of the new corporate headquarters for Gaming Arts LLC, a privately-held gaming equipment manufacturer owned by David Colvin. Sandoval says that the policies his administration has implemented have helped “create an environment for innovation” that has fostered growth within the gaming manufacturing sector in Nevada. “The Colvins have worked very hard to bring (Gaming Arts) a long way in a very short amount of time,” Sandoval said. On the other end of the spectrum, he highlighted the Australian slot machine giant Aristocrat Technologies, which is moving its corporate headquarters to a new facility in Summerlin. Sandoval said Nevada has created a talent pool of qualified employees, citing the research and development laboratories at UNLV’s International Gaming Institute and the Master of Law (LLM) degree in gaming now offered at UNLV’s Boyd School of Law. “You put all that together, you just can’t replicate it anywhere else,” he said. Sandoval left a position as a U.S. District Court judge to run for governor in 2010. Previously, he served in the Nevada State Legislature, as chairman of the Nevada Gaming Commission, and as the state’s Attorney General. He entered the governor’s office with more hands-on gaming experience than any previous chief executive, and his understanding of gaming matters came from a broad background. That was part of the reasoning Sandoval used when he reinstituted the Governor’s Gaming Policy Committee after a nearly 20-year absence. The 12-person panel – which has met almost a dozen times in the past eight years – was chaired by Sandoval and included regulators, members of the gaming industry, tribal gaming leaders, lawmakers and other stakeholders. The committee came up with policy to advise the Nevada Legislature on four issues: Internet gaming, daily fantasy sports, eSports and legal marijuana. A bill that allowed Nevada companies to offer Internet poker, for example, was approved in less than 24 hours during the 2013 legislative session. “For me, it was the perfect vehicle to introduce some of these issues to inform the Legislature going in, so they wouldn’t be overwhelmed,” Sandoval said. “Hopefully, the next governor will see that there is a really strong template and that this is a way to introduce new and complicated issues to the Legislature and the public at large.” Sandoval declined to single out a key gaming achievement that he’s most proud of, but he did suggest that the next governor reappoint Becky Harris, whom he named as the first female chairperson of the Nevada Gaming Control Board in January. Her term expires after Sandoval leaves office. “She’s a rock star, and she has taken on some extraordinary tough issues right out of the shoot,” he said. Between serving as governor and Gaming Commission chairman, Sandoval has touched on many gaming policy matters over the past two decades. The commission he chaired created regulations governing themed slot machine with images that included children’s television programs and animated cartoons. Sandoval also fought an attempt by Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., to ban wagering on college athletics in 2004. Through it all, Sandoval said Nevada’s gaming regulatory structure continues to be “beyond reproach” and has gained international recognition. “I travel all over the world (on behalf of Nevada) and go to (gaming) jurisdictions,” Sandoval said. “Without exception, they have said they reach out to us to help them with their gaming regulatory system.” Howard Stutz is the executive editor of CDC Gaming Reports. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @howardstutz on Twitter.