Nevada’s 84 statewide bars, taverns and eateries that house betting kiosks for their customers convenience in placing wagers on sporting events will be getting visitors shortly, as the state-mandated removal of the machines kicks in this weekend. Major kiosk provider William Hill be taking them out of about half of those establishments, with other kiosk players like Cantor Gaming taking the rest, and not everyone is happy about it, to say the least.
New Law Goes Into Effect
“At the end of the day, we’ll follow the law,” said Steve Arcana, CEO of Las Vegas-based Golden Gaming Inc., a company that operates PT’s Entertainment Group, an outfit with numerous restricted license operations across the state that will be affected by a new law. “We’re not happy about it. Our customers like sports wagering.”
Although customers will no longer be able to wager on the machines, open accounts, or deposit or withdraw cash, they will still be able to put money into their mobile sports betting accounts and keep abreast of lines on games. William Hill director of business development Dan Shapiro says his Las Vegas-based company is trying to make lemonade out of lemons.
“We are repositioning them from kiosks to mobile sports deposit hotspots,” said Shapiro. “You can’t make a bet or withdraw money, but it will accept cash deposits.” We bet it will.
Restricted Vs. Unrestricted License Battle
The new law creating this change is Senate Bill 416, which bans betting sports via betting kiosks in any bar, tavern or restaurant with a restricted gaming license, meaning they can have no more than 15 slot machines on property. The Nevada Resort Association – a lobbying group that represents major land casino interests like Station Casinos Inc. and Boyd Gaming Corp., among others – was instrumental in pushing for the ban, claiming sports betting kiosks crossed the fuzzy line between the nonrestricted gaming options of brick-and-mortar casinos, and the much more limited restricted licenses of the average bar or tavern in Nevada.
The now-illegal betting kiosks had generated $600,000 in profits in 2012, which amounts to a tiny 0.35 percent of the total $170 million in sports betting revenues earned by all sources last year. In all, gamblers bet out more than $3.4 billion on sporting events in 2012.