Vaccaro supports legalizing wagers in Nevada beyond sports

Jul 5, 2011 6:25 AM

Famed Las Vegas bookmaker Jimmy Vaccaro reaffirmed his support for legalizing wagers in Nevada beyond sports.

"Can you imagine what we could have done two months ago with Carolyn Goodman running for mayor," Vaccaro told guest host and GamingToday columnist Micah Roberts on the Brian Blessing radio show. It would have been huge."

Vaccaro, the director of sports operations and public relations for Lucky’s, has long been a proponent of opening up betting to events such as the Academy Awards, the Heisman Trophy and, yes, political elections.

"Betting the Presidential election (in terms of handle) would make the Super Bowl look like a Bishop Gorman football game," Vaccaro said.

Back in February on his Twitter site Vaccaro said the time was right to make changes to the Interstate Wire Act of 1961, a federal law prohibiting the operation of certain types of betting businesses in the United States.

"No, you can’t run down to Wynn and bet on the Oscars quite yet, but the red carpet has been rolled out to us and Joan Rivers is not the one who will be doing the interview," Vaccaro wrote.

And he expanded that position to Roberts.

"It doesn’t mean we can run down tomorrow and bet on who’s going to win the World Series of Poker, but at least we have the opportunity now. I believe everyone is going to chip in and get it done.

"I want poker to be like a blocking back for sports," Vaccaro continued. "Sports will take longer because of the federal regulations we have going back to the Wire Act."

Switching to the NFL lockout, Vaccaro said he thought the industry would be okay and that the season would take place.

"If you had to choose between NFL and NBA we’d have the NBA go to sleep for awhile," Vaccaro said. "Not being able to book the NFL would have an overwhelming affect. The NFL is so darn popular. The NBA gets popular the first two games of the season and then it just lays there until the playoffs. There’s no rush for judgment for people to watch the NBA."

GT columnist Phil Hevener noted in a recent article that aggressive buyers such as William Hill and Cantor Gaming are fascinated by the potential in Las Vegas and Nevada.

"There are opportunities for growth as the strategic thinkers look beyond their saturated home markets," Hevener said.

William Hill, based in London, recently acquired Lucky, Leroy’s and CalNeva books and is awaiting formal approval of the licensing from Nevada Gaming Control expected by mid 2012. It’s legal in Great Britain to bet on events other than sports.

(Note: Roberts will be hosting Blessing’s radio show all this week on FOX radio 920AM from 2-3 p.m.)