Since I last blogged about the legalization of sports gambling, a few other states have entered the game while even more are considering it. This is great news for bettors and casinos. As we go forward with this, how it affects Las Vegas and Nevada as a whole could change the way the gambling world operates.
Full Scale Gambling: In addition to Nevada, 7 more states now have full scale sports gambling to offer. New Mexico, Mississippi, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, and Rhode Island have all jumped aboard this train. These states, from what I’ve read in early reports, are seeing positive results because of this. What a lot of people might not realize is the collateral dollars poured into the community as a result of legalized gambling. Restaurants will thrive, hotels will book more rooms, and bars will be packed until closing time.
Law Passed: Right now, Arkansas stands alone as the only state that has passed the law to allow sports betting, but they are still in the process of launching. This may take a few more months from what I read this morning. With the law passed, residents can count on this very soon.
Partial Law: New York and Connecticut currently have partial laws in place but still have ends to tie up. This would give us 6 states in the northeast with full scale gambling once these 2 states get this passed. With a huge concentration of sports fans in that area, this will prove to be an extremely positive step forward.
There are 17 more states with bills in the process of getting passed. Most of these are in the midwest, but also includes California and Hawaii. So how will countrywide legalized gambling affect Las Vegas in the long run? I’ve already seen reports where quite a few casinos are lowering parking fees and resort fees. This is great because that’s one of the biggest gripes about Vegas among my friends and I. Resort fees make no sense. Just raise the room rate and tell us what it is. Widespread gambling will also affect other areas as well. As legalized gambling will increase the community dollars for the new places, less visitors to Vegas will decrease it there. How Las Vegas reacts is something we’ll need to keep an eye on.
My buddies and I have been going to Vegas at least twice a year for quite some time now. As I was checking flights for March Madness last week, I was a bit shocked by the prices I saw. I’m sure they’ll go down some, but it prompted me to look into other options. Having been to Biloxi on a couple occasions, I looked there first. What I found was that I could instantly save almost $1,000 by driving there and still enjoy March Madness. I can also sit on the beach, an added bonus. That may be my choice this year, if for no other reason than to see how it is being operated and to decide if it’s something we should consider in the future. Right there on the gulf is Beau Rivage, Hard Rock, Harrah’s, and a couple more. These are established casinos, so it should be on par with what we see in Vegas.
The gambling world will change with the ebb and flow of interest and new options. In my earlier blog on this subject, I mentioned that Vegas would be ok for a long time. What I didn’t expect was for so many states to jump aboard this quickly. Vegas might need to start looking into ways to make sure their city remains THE place to be, and it still is. For many, it will come down to dollars and common sense. I’m leaning towards Biloxi right now, but never count out a return to Vegas. And I’ll still hit up Vegas at least once a year, even if I get sports gambling in my state. And yes, it’s one of the 17 with a law in place. When/if that happens, I hope Turfway Park gets a sportsbook. It’s practically in my backyard.