Kornegay: Senators should talk to Vegas

Kornegay: Senators should talk to Vegas

September 05, 2018 3:00 AM


Hey, Senator Chuck Schumer, if you’re really serious about Congress trying to set up nationwide regulations for sports gambling, you might want to make a trip to Las Vegas to learn about a system that’s already in place. Jay Kornegay will even pick you up at the airport.

“For them to make educated decisions, they need to understand what’s already been out there and what’s been molded over the last 40 years,” said Kornegay, vice president of race and sports operations at the Westgate casino.

A week ago, Schumer, the senate minority leader from New York, shared parts of his vision for how Congress needs to act with sports betting now legalized outside of Nevada and starting to spread around the country.

“The stakes are too high – legal sports betting laws must be crafted and executed in a careful and thoughtful way,” Schumer said in a statement. “The integrity of sports is too precious to not protect as best we can.”

Schumer’s areas of concern include the integrity of the games being played, problem gamblers and underage bettors. He also urged the sports leagues to get involved in monitoring the process.

Shortly after ESPN reported on Schumer’s statement last week, Kornegay jumped on Twitter: “I would like to cordially invite @SenSchumer to Las Vegas for a tour of the @LVSuperBook and review policies/procedures of a regulated sportsbook. No joke. I would enjoy speaking with any decision makers concerning our operation.”

Like many sportsbook directors in Nevada, Kornegay remains frustrated with the perception of how it all works out here. He’s tired of the widespread misinformed opinions.

“There’s a federal agency that came in and talked to me about 10 days ago,” Kornegay said. “It’s amazing how many misconceptions or myths they have of the Las Vegas sports gaming industry.”

Asked whether the agency, which he chose not to identify, seemed surprised with what it found, Kornegay said, “Totally. They felt so much better and relieved we aren’t just The Wild Wild West out here taking whatever we want.

“With some of the comments that Schumer made, like, ‘Oh, we’ve got to make sure everybody’s 21 that bets sports.’

“Good idea,” Kornegay added, sarcastically. “It was said in a way that other jurisdictions were taking wagers from people under 21.

“Those type of misconceptions and myths need to be debunked and the only way that can happen is if they actually speak with us. Some of the assumptions they have out there, whether Al Leiter or Senator Schumer, they’re just not accurate.”

Kornegay’s reference to Leiter, a former major league pitcher, stems from a quote suggesting the threat of fixing will increase with legalized sports betting and put more pressure on the athletes.

“You’ve got Al Leiter out there making comments that people are going to take a half-million dollars on the first pitch, whether it’s a ball or strike, which is totally untrue,” Kornegay said. “I’ve never even seen that wager before and we certainly would not take half-a-million dollars on a proposition like that.

“Nevada doesn’t allow wagers on a lot of events that you might see in other parts of the world.”

Offshore books, for instance, have been known to accept bets on Lady Gaga’s hair color during a Super Bowl performance.

“It’s just not accurate that those type of wagers are accepted in the state of Nevada,” Kornegay said.

“But I really think a lot of parts of this country believe we have those type of wagers. For the most part, we have to stick to the field of play with some exceptions (Super Bowl MVP, for example) where there’s still no knowledge of the winner.”

Asked if he expects to hear back from Schumer on his offer, Kornegay said, “I hope so. If not him, then others… it’s important they at least look into the industry that has been accepting sports wagers for more than 40 years.”