Nevada Senate Passes a Sportsbook Bill to Allow Business Investments in Sports Bets
The Nevada Senate passed a controversial sports betting bill which would allow businesses to invest in skilled bettors on Saturday. Current state law allows individuals and partnerships to place legal bets on horse racing and sporting events. The current proposal would investors to put money on a skilled gambler, then share in that gambler’s winnings.
The idea of the bill is to create a market for investing in sports bets. Pooling resources would allow for “backing agreements”, though opponents are concerned about opening the door for criminal backers and also providing advantages for businesses, who might hire the services of oddsmakers to make a quick buck. The current laws do not allow a gambler to receive compensation from a consortium of investors.
Passed by 11-10 Vote
The proposals were discussed in session for the first time last month in Nevada Senate Judiciary Committee meetings. On Friday, the Senate Bill 443 passed by a razor-thin vote of 11-10. All Senate Democrats stood in opposition to the bill.
Market Demand for Skilled Bettors
Quinton Singleton, VP and deputy general counsel of CG Technology, said of the gaming proposal, “We believe that there is a market demand for skilled bettors to utilize the various forms of Nevada’s entities, have individuals invest in the entity and then share in the success of the wagering activity.”
The current proposed bill would require “detailed personal information” on each person involved in the sports betting business to be submitted to the Nevada Gaming Control Board. The bill also calls for registration fees.
Questions on Oversight
Proponents hope that the final bill will bypass the need for such information to be disclosed to the Gaming Control Board. Instead, they would prefer to see that information provided to the sportsbooks in question.
Chances of HB443 Passing
Doubts remain whether HB 443 can pass, though. A similar bill received overwhelming support from the Senate in 2013, but died in the Assembly. Given the much-closer vote in the Senate this time around, one has to wonder whether additional support can be found in the Assembly on this second attempt. To ever reach Governor Brian Sandoval’s desk, the Assembly would have to approve the measure.
Similar to Poker Backing Agreements
Gaming experts believe a system could be set up which would be quite similar to the backing agreements common in the professional poker tournament circuit. Several big events happen every year in the poker world which require an entry fee of $100,000 or more. Despite their skill, most professional card players are not going to want to risk so much cash. Therefore, those pros can line up backers who pay all or part of their entry fee, in exchange for a percentage of the winnings (if that player has them).
The same could be done for sports betting, though in a much more regulated way. Investors could back proven winners, who then would make the decisions based on their own oddsmaking calculations. Investors would be paid out a percentage of the winnings.
Comparison to Mutual Funds
From the perspective of the investor, gambling attorney Bruce Leslie says such arrangements might work the way mutual funds work in the investment world. In that scenario, Mr. Leslie says that the sports gambler would fill the role of the “fund manager”.
At present, Nevada is one of only four states which allows legal sports betting, along with Delaware, Oregon, and Montana. All four states are allowed sports betting, due to provisions of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act or PASPA. New Jersey is attempting to legalize gambling in the state, challenging the federal ban imposed on it by the PASPA law.
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