Sports Kiosks shut down in Nevada Assembly

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The big casinos beat the little guy again, as the State Assembly unanimously voted to pass Senate Bill 416, which prohibits sports betting kiosks in pubs and bars across the state.

On July 1, everyone who got comfortable betting at their local PT’s Pub will have to find other alternatives, such as returning to one of those big casinos to make their sports wagers. 

The kiosks were approved on a trial basis two years ago, and everything that had been required during that process was done well by William Hill, who operated most of the kiosks throughout the state. 

The argument against the kiosks stands only with the restricted license, because it sure wasn’t based on actual numbers and facts. Nevada sports books showed a 20.8 percent growth in handle from 2011 to 2012. The collective books won $170 million, but the kiosks only generated $600,000 in win. 

The number doesn’t sound like a lot, but considering that most of the kiosk wagers were in the $20 range, it’s a pretty impressive feat, and it would have grown larger over the ensuing years. But no Nevada book could prove that their numbers were lower year over year due to the kiosks. Everyone was swimming with prosperity, despite the new ways to make bets. 

The bottom line is that when a few of the casinos couldn’t take control of the operation William Hill ran for PT’s Pub’s, they got the big squeeze, basically saying “if we can’t have it, then no one can.”

For casinos, who generate the state’s economy far outside of sports betting, the people who run our state are more apt to side with them than a company like William Hill who came from England and just got licensed a few years ago, and does race and sports only.

The biggest problem with this all is that as an industry, we have taken a giant step backwards. The kiosks were a symbol of progression in an industry that has kind of stood still. And who gets hurt the most? The little guy with his $20 bet. That $20 bet that was bet close to the bettors home might not ever make to a casino with a sports book. The kiosks tapped a new market and helped growth.

The alternative for that $20 bettor is to get on board with a William Hill, Station Casinos or Cantor Gaming phone account, where he can make his wagers whenever he likes. Smart phones are required for that application, which believe it or not, not everyone has. The bigger deal for bettors here was being able to run actual dollar bills through the machine and get paid back on the spot. 

I thought was a slam dunk to stay in operation because of the trial going so well with no major violations, and the kiosks not impeding the handle of other casino operations, but I was dead wrong. Now it’s back to the drawing board.

Micah Roberts is a former Las Vegas race and sports book director, and longtime motorsports columnist and sports analyst at GamingToday. Follow Micah on Twitter @MicahRoberts7 Contact Micah at [email protected].

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