Final Four in Las Vegas? Odds Shorten After NCAA Rescinds Ban on Championships in Sports Betting States

Posted on: May 3, 2019, 10:45h. 

Last updated on: May 3, 2019, 10:45h.

Las Vegas wants to bring major sporting events to town such as the Super Bowl and NCAA men’s basketball tournament, and the odds of a major collegiate championship being hosted in Sin City just greatly improved.

Las Vegas T-Mobile Arena NCAA championship
Las Vegas’ T-Mobile Arena is no longer barred from trying to host NCAA championships. (Image: David Dow/Getty)

The NCAA announced Friday that its ban on national championships being contested in states with legalized sports betting is no more. The collegiate association’s Board of Governors voted to rescind the prohibition, as legal sports gambling continues to expand across the US.

Following the Supreme Court’s May repeal of the federal law that had restricted full-scale sports betting to only Nevada, the NCAA indefinitely suspended the policy. Now, it’s fully removed from the association’s bylaws.

Seven states have joined Nevada in offering sports betting: Delaware, New Jersey, West Virginia, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, Mississippi, and New Mexico. And Tennessee, New York, Iowa, Indiana, Tennessee, and Montana are on deck.

Sports Betting Madness

The NCAA perhaps had no choice other than to rescind its ban on national championships being held in states with sportsbooks. Otherwise, it could soon become a rather small potential host pool.

Eight states now have operational sports betting, and The Action Network – a research firm focused on sports gambling – predicts as many as 30 could have sportsbooks by the end of 2020.

Despite the NCAA altering its position on sports betting states, the collegiate sports governing body isn’t embracing the gambling activity. The board reaffirmed its position this week that it supports some form of federal legislation that each state that wishes to participate must abide. The NCAA also wants Congress to prohibit wagering on collegiate sports.

Las Vegas Attractions

Professional sports leagues and college championships had avoided Las Vegas for decades due to the city’s widespread legal sports betting. That changed in June 2016 when the NHL announced approval for an expansion franchise based in Las Vegas.

The Vegas Golden Knights became the city’s first major professional sports team. The hockey team’s home ice – T-Mobile Arena – wants to host the NCAA men’s basketball tournament. Las Vegas officials are bidding on the 2023 and beyond March Madness hosting privileges.

We’re optimistic,” Las Vegas Events President Pat Christenson said this year. “I think the relationship between the NCAA and Las Vegas has been improving.”

Along with the Vegas Golden Knights, the Oakland Raiders are moving to Las Vegas for the start of the 2020 NFL season.

The $1.8 billion domed stadium just west of the Strip and I-15 between Russel Road and Hacienda Avenue is being built with big aspirations. Along with Raiders and UNLV football games, the venue plans to host concerts and various other special events.

The big ticket – of course – is the Super Bowl. The NFL is said to be considering a permanent rotation of four host cities for the game, and Las Vegas is rumored to be one of the finalists for inclusion.