Gov. Sandoval Thinks More Sports Betting Will Help Nevada

Written By Katie Callahan on June 18, 2018
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Gov. Brian Sandoval will capitalize on sports betting as an enhancement of the well‑established Nevada gaming regulatory structure, if given the chance.

“I travel all over the world (on behalf of Nevada) and go to (gaming) jurisdictions,” Sandoval said to CDC Gaming Reports. “Without exception, they have said they reach out to us to help them with their gaming regulatory system.”

His endorsement of nationwide sports betting comes from his belief that it will strengthen the Nevada market.

According to CDC Gaming Reports, Sandoval is proud of Nevada’s current regulations and said that because they’re the “gold standard,” Nevada is in a good position for expanded sports betting.

The Northern Nevada Republican said he personally supported New Jersey in the case that legalized sports betting.  

While Sandoval is term-limited and can’t run for reelection, online gambling remains one of his top priorities until he leaves office at the end of his second term in January. (Another candidate for governor, Adam Laxalt, comparatively, hates online gambling.)

Nevada poised for gaming growth

Recently, two corporate headquarters for gaming moved into Nevada: Aristocrat Technologies, an Australian slot machine company, and Gaming Arts LLC, a gaming equipment manufacturer.

Sandoval went to the ribbon cutting ceremony of the former, and also noted that Nevada is poised to employ for this area of growth.

These employees hail from the research and development laboratories at University of Las Vegas’ International Gaming Institute and Master of Law degree in gaming at UNLV’s Boyld School of Law.

Sandoval: No stranger to gaming in 2018

In January, Sandoval appointed Becky Harris to the chair of the Nevada Gaming Control Board. Harris is the first woman to serve as chair, second to serve on the board.

In order to address regulations, Sandoval needed to place a qualified candidate in the role. He said that Harris is that person and should be reinstated by the next governor. She had this to say:

“To be appointed to the finest regulatory system in the world is a tremendous responsibility. I am grateful for the trust and confidence Governor Sandoval has placed in me. I am committed to serving with determination and honor.

Sandoval’s recent work runs much further back, but even just in April he announced the Southern Nevada Sporting Event Committee, dedicated to create more opportunities for sporting events and nodding at the sports betting world.

Sandoval told KTVN that with the Vegas Golden Nights race toward the Stanley Cup and the Raiders in Nevada, Nevada is becoming a major destination for sporting events:

“Combined with the recent Supreme Court decision on sports betting, even more opportunities to attract major sporting events and associated activities to our state are arising. I am confident that this Committee will be able to explore all of the possibilities and report back to me and the Legislature.”

An executive order created the committee April 18, allowing committee members to organize locally for the NFL draft or other events. Additionally, this committee can determine whether Nevada should establish a permanent sports committee.

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Creating a sports committee

This 18-member committee has some familiar faces on it from the online poker world. Sandoval appointed these members:

  • Paul Anderson, Executive Director, Governor’s Office of Economic Development
  • Steve Hill, Chairman, Las Vegas Stadium Authority Board
  • Carolyn Goodman, Mayor, City of Las Vegas
  • Steve Sisolak, Chairman, Clark County Commission
  • Mary Beth Sewald, President and CEO, Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce
  • Thom Reilly, Chancellor, Nevada System of Higher Education
  • Peter Sadowski, Executive Vice President, Vegas Golden Knights
  • Marc Badain, President, Raiders
  • Andrew Abboud, Senior Vice President, Las Vegas Sands Corp.
  • John McManus, Executive Vice President, MGM
  • John Maddox, Vice President, Government Relations and Development, Caesars Entertainment
  • Kim Sinatra, Executive Vice President, General Counsel, Wynn Resorts
  • Michael Britt, Vice President, Government Relations, Red Rock Resorts
  • William Noonan, Senior Vice President, Industry and Government Affairs, Boyd Gaming Corporation
  • Steven Stallworth, General Manager, Arena & Equestrian Center
  • Dallas Haun, Chairman, Nevada State Bank
  • John Hill, Public Relations & Advertising Representative, Palm Mortuary
  • Scott Sibella, Chairman of the Board, Las Vegas Events

Also included on this committee are four nonvoting members. This committee will submit a report to Sandoval and the Legislative Commission by Dec. 31, 2018.

Sandoval expedited the process

During his term, Sandoval’s continued support for online gaming allowed him to elevate Nevada’s gaming status.

After serving in the Nevada State Legislature, chairing the Nevada Gaming Commission, and filling the state’s Attorney General seat, Sandoval came in with more experience than others who could fill the position.

Some of his achievements include:

  • Bringing back the Governor’s Gaming Policy Committee (after 20 years)
  • Approving a bill that allowed Nevada to offer online poker (2013)
  • Creating regulations for themed slot machines with animated/children’s TV characters (as commission chair)
  • Fighting to allow wagering on college athletics against John McCain (2004)

When Sandoval was chair, the Nevada legislature approved online poker in under 24 hours. Sandoval said this led the way for current issues, reported CDC Gaming Reports.

“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. 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.”

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Katie Callahan

Katie Callahan is a freelance journalist, blogger and copywriter who covers everything from poker, business, education and politics to construction, startups and cybersecurity.

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