Vegas losing gaming edge?

Aug 17, 2004 5:32 AM

Roxy Roxborough is no longer part of the Vegas gaming scene, but he has far from lost interest.

"I see the rest of the world going full steam ahead in sports betting and Vegas locked in a time warp," was the famed oddsmaker’s take on the industry from his comfortable perch at Del Mar. "There are a few twists Vegas books will use, but not the leap that gambling has taken around the world."

Roxy knows the world, spending half the year in Asia (mostly Thailand). The lure of thoroughbreds racing and the beauty of Del Mar brings him back to the States, but his perspective on our industry may not be what many around the Strip want to hear.

"The world is pulling ahead of Las Vegas in technology," said Roxborough, who founded Las Vegas Sports Consultants. "The trend around the world is to bet games, while they are in progress. There are too many restrictions in Nevada that handcuff sports books. That’s not so outside the U.S., and why England is on its way to becoming the center of gambling."

"Las Vegas must continue to show people that the city can remain exciting," he said. "I am always amazed at the expansion of the city. But the snowball is rolling down as a total resort destination. The high rollers could wind up in Macao."

Roxy also claimed that Internet gaming was "here to stay." Those are painful words for Vegas and the state’s Gaming Control Board.

"The fact is Vegas gambling the same as it was seven or eight years ago," he said. "The world is catching up fast. There is great interest in areas like the old Soviet Union, Eastern Europe, Asia and South America. The stringent regulations here will send customers to the Internet due to the convenience and the advanced technology."

Roxy was not totally negative on Vegas. He believes LVSC has a future even if losing money to the consolidations.

"It’s tough for casinos to replicate what LVSC does," he said. "It’s not cost effective. LVSC still has great value, although its situation would improve a lot if not just restricted to Nevada clients."

Roxborough said he is enjoying life as a world traveler and no plans on returning to the gaming business here.

"Gambling will always be my love," Roxborough said. "It’s like prohibition. You can’t stop people from betting. Just that Vegas may not be first choice."