Las Vegas is now available to host NCAA championship events
May 17, 2018 9:23 AM
by Robert Mann
Las Vegas is now available to host NCAA championship events with word Thursday that college sports governing body “has suspended its championship host policy related to sports wagering.”
The policy change, should it be extended or becomes permanent, would, for the first time, open up Las Vegas as a possible NCAA championship venue. The Las Vegas Convention and Visitor’s Authority (LVCVA), the government agency that promotes tourism and visitation in Southern Nevada, has long sought to host major NCAA championship events, particularly the men’s basketball championship and its preliminary rounds.
West Coast conferences including the PAC 12 and others have conducted their post-season tournaments in Las Vegas in recent years. Las Vegas remains an attractive destination for such tournaments because of its thousands of hotel rooms adjacent to or near its indoor arenas and its reputation in the hospitality industry as a popular tourist destination.
The LVCVA, funded largely through a room tax, typically will pay a significant subsidy to attract events such as the Nation Finals Rodeo and others, to come to Southern Nevada.
Industry observers note that the proliferation of major states now engaged in the process of legalizing sports wagering would have severely restricted where it could host its various championship with a resulting negative impact on its finances.
The NCAA Board of Governors said that its decision ensures championship location continuity by temporarily allowing NCAA championship events to occur in states that offer sports wagering.
The NCCA also said, to ensure integrity in sport, it additionally supports a federal model addressing legalized gambling.
The suspended policy had prohibited any NCAA championship competition from occurring in any state that allows single-game sports wagering. This policy had previously only affected Nevada. However, with many other states soon expected to allow sports betting, the policy revision, only temporary at this time, had to be re-examined.
The college sports governing body has already announced its venues for its preliminary and championship rounds for men’s basketball through 2022 with a significant number of games set for states likely to have sports wagering in place before those games are played. Among those states are New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Iowa and others.
The Board of Governors says it may consider more permanent revisions of the championship host policy regarding sports wagering during future meetings. NCAA policy restricting sports gambling sponsorships and advertising remains in place for the various NCAA championships and Football Bowl Subdivision postseason bowls.
The Board of Governors’ action does not impact NCAA rules that already prohibit sports wagering by student-athletes or member schools’ athletics employees, including coaches. Violations of any sports wagering rules remain subject to NCAA penalties; however, the NCAA membership may reconsider appropriate consequences for those who legally bet on sports.