The NFL’s Raiders are moving to Las Vegas for the 2020 season, and it is expected that fans in attendance at those home games will be able to wager on them via mobile device. SBR has gotten a perspective from a European capper on what that might be like.
For many sports fans, the only thing more exciting than watching live games is betting in-play on them while in person inside packed stadiums. It is rife across Europe as spectators sense which team is in the ascendancy, whip out their mobile devices and back that team within a few taps of their screens.
This pleasure is denied to NFL fans in the USA because mobile sports betting is outlawed in all states that have franchises. But that is set to change when the Oakland Raiders move to Las Vegas in time for the 2020 season. Mobile betting is permitted for fans the second they step inside Nevada state lines, and that will include the new $1.9 billion stadium that will host Raiders games.
The team’s lease with the city of Las Vegas prohibits any gaming, gambling and sports wagering in the lease’s language. The loophole is that the lease does not block access, specifically, to mobile sports betting apps. Nevada Gaming Commissioner chairman Tony Alamo recently told ESPN that nobody from the NFL has approached him about changing a policy on mobile gambling apps and blocking them at the stadium.
“The NFL has not approached me for any policy decisions,” said Alamo. “The Nevada Gaming Commission is the policy maker for the state of Nevada and gaming, and they have not approached us in any way, shape or form.”
A similar situation exists in London, where multiple regular-season NFL games are played each year (four in 2017). The NFL shuts down betting kiosks inside stadiums like Wembley, but there is nothing it can do to stop members of the audience placing wagers from their mobile devices.
In the United Kingdom, in-play betting has long since overtaken pre-match betting in terms of popularity, as pioneers like Bet365 have used technology to make it easier than ever to quickly get in on the action.
Before the match, oddsmakers have all the time in the world to analyze the intricacies of the game and stack the odds in their favor. After it begins, they are rushing to keep up with the action, and it can be easier to steal an advantage on them – even more so when you are in the stadium watching it all unfold. William Hill in particular has had great success with in-play betting in the UK, and more than half of all bets taken at its Vegas sportsbook are placed via its mobile app.
Live betting on NFL is not quite as sophisticated as it is on soccer – where continuous wagering is offered by sportsbooks – and you may find you have to wait for extended breaks or commercial breaks to get in on the action.
But the Raiders’ move to Vegas is a welcome shot in the arm for campaigners that wish to see sports betting permitted across the USA. The NFL, which is opposed to sports betting but perhaps softening on the matter, may still try to prevent mobile betting taking place within the stadium, but it would be extremely difficult to enforce.
Since mobile betting is legal across Nevada and team owners voted 31-1 in favor of the Raiders relocating to Vegas, it seems there is little that can be done to stop it. The league could try to force the use of geolocation to make it impossible for fans to load up mobile betting sites from within the stadium, but that would be fraught with problems and could well be rejected by the state.
Hockey fans will find out sooner than NFL fans about in-play betting because the Vegas Golden Knights debut in the NHL this October.
SBR’s Dana Lane contacted one prominent Las Vegas handicapper and was told this: “To this point, no one in the NHL has officially asked the sportsbooks to change any policy and they shouldn't. You have been able to bet on UNLV and Reno games from your phone for years without any issues. Nevada shouldn't have to do change what they do better than the leagues themselves and that's police wagering on sporting events. “Talk About Potential Mobile Betting At Raiders Games In Our Forum