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Vegas Looks to Compete With Online Gambling Sites: American Idol, Oscars

Written by:
Jagajeet Chiba
Published on:
Mar/18/2009

The state of Nevada has come to the realization that they are missing out on some of the biggest betting events of the year.  While Las Vegas sportsbooks capitalize on the Super Bowl and the current March Madness frenzy, they miss out on other major betting opportunities:  The Oscars, American Idol, Dancing With The Stars, Presidential races, the list goes on.

"The Oscars is the third most bet on single day event of the year," explains Payton O'Brien, matriarch of the Gambling911.com website.  "This year's US Presidential race was the single most bet on nonsporting event ever."

And then there are those popular competition shows:  Specifically American Idol and Dancing With The Stars.

"Las Vegas is all about entertainment.  It makes perfect sense that people visiting Vegas would want to place bets on Idol and Dancing With The Stars.  You'll be luring people into the sportsbooks who've never stepped foot in one, people who don't even follow sports."

It would also be easier for movie studios to tie in promos with Vegas betting. 

"One online offering that has never really taken off is the Over/Under on box office weekend receipts for a big film release, something along the lines of a Spiderman or Batman," said O'Brien.  "It is much easier to see Vegas capitalize on something like this."

Washoe County Assemblyman Bernie Anderson wants legislation that would allow Vegas books to accept bets on nearly every event.

"It's mind boggling. There's no two ways about it," said Washoe County Assemblyman Bernie Anderson. "There is an opportunity here."

Jay Kornegay, Director of the Hilton Sportsbook, told KLAS-TV the "Mother of all nonsports betting would be the Oscars". 

It's live, so less chance for the smart money to rig it or for word to leak out, "The envelope is sealed. No one knows except for the accounting firm."

And Las Vegas needs every bit of help it can get.   Casinos all across the strip are hurting. 

Despite winning a two month reprieve to restructure debts, auditors raised 'substantial doubt' in whether MGM Mirage could continue operations. MGM Mirage, largest casino owner on the strip, has reported a painful $1.15 billion fourth-quarter loss after writing down properties because of shrinking gambling revenue.

Jagajeet Chiba, Gambling911.com

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