If one Nevada lawmaker has his way, visitors to Sin City will soon be able to bet on the next presidential election.
Las Vegas Democrat Tick Segerblom on Monday introduced a bill in the Nevada state Senate that would legalizing betting on federal elections.
SB 418 would revise the state’s definition of sports betting “to include wagers with respect to the outcome of a federal election.”
“We’re in a competitive environment,” Segerblom explained to KVVU. “We’re basically competing against the world, and I think we need to start looking beyond what we’ve done.”
“They bet on our elections in England. They spend millions of dollars on the presidential elections, and it occurred to me, why don’t we have that here?”
Union Gaming Group analyst Bill Lerner said in a report that the state should not expect to see a lot of extra revenue from elections wagering.
“We wouldn’t expect betting on federal elections to be a meaningful overall revenue generator for Nevada casinos,” Lerner noted. “That said, it could bring increased visitation and publicity around key federal elections.”
Nevada earned $10 million in 2012 from sports books other than baseball, basketball and football. Director of UNLV’s Center for Gaming Research David G. Schwartz said that betting on elections would only bring in a fraction of that.
But there could also be a psychological impact to wagering on candidates that can not be easily quantified.
“It speaks to the development of politics as a spectator sport. It’s almost the way people would follow their favorite teams,” Schwartz observed. “They seem to be picking sides … as opposed to soberly evaluating candidates and their platforms.”
Segerblom would have to pass a committee vote before being taken up by the full state House and Senate.
Watch this video from KVVU, broadcast March 26, 2013.