Thinking Of Gambling On The Election? You Can’t In Vegas

Image courtesy of Steven Depolo

The election is next week and while some might argue it’s a sporting event — the rounds of debate sparring, the marathon-like campaign stops — it’s not. So, if you were planning on betting for one side or the other, you might want to think again: Vegas doesn’t want your bet. 

FiveThirtyEight reports that Las Vegas doesn’t offer odds on the presidential election — or really most other competitions that doesn’t involve a ball, puck, horse, or other sports-like aspect.

This wasn’t always the case, of course: when casinos in Vegas first began opening sports books nothing was off-limits, including offering odds on events like when the U.S.’s first space station would land back on Earth in 1979.

Things began to change in the ‘80s when the TV show Dallas became popular — everyone wanted to bet on who shot J.R.

But, FiveThirtyEight reports, because people actually involved with the TV show knew who shot J.R., the bets were thought to be unfair. The Nevada Gaming Control Board stepped in, forcing the sportsbook at the Castaways casino to refund money.

Not long after, in 1985, the Board established rules that declared no betting was allowed on anything other than professional athletic events on the field of play. Of course, college sports and the Olympics were added down the line.

Fast forward to 2011, and the Gaming Board began allowing sports books to petition for approval on individual non-sports wagers. But to receive a waiver, the events had to be supervised, verifiable, and “consistent with the public policy of the state.”

That’s left events like The Oscars and the presidential election off the table — much to some sportsbook operators’ dislike.

Chris Andrews, who managed the sportsbook at the South Point Hotel and Casino, tells FiveThirtyEight that he’d love to take wagers on the election.

“If people could bet on the election, yeah, it would spur voting,” he said. “If you bet $100, $10 or $10,000, whatever, you would go vote for your [candidate].”

While there won’t be any betting on the election in Vegas this time around, that doesn’t mean it won’t be allowed in the future.

Back in 2013, the Nevada Legislature received a proposal that would allow gambling on elections. The bill hasn’t gone anywhere, but it could. Or then again, maybe not.

They Won’t Take Your Bet On The Election In Las Vegas [FiveThirtyEight]

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