President Trump Talks Sports Betting, Nevada Books Collect Record Handle on Super Bowl

Posted on: February 7, 2017, 06:00h. 

Last updated on: February 7, 2017, 05:33h.

Sports betting legalization is a controversial subject that has recently been debated in several state capitals, and the US Supreme Court is considering conducting its own review in the coming months.

President Trump sports betting Super Bowl LI
President Trump explained he won’t fight for sports betting legalization until he hears all sides of the story from those who know the market best. (Image: Lucy Nicholson/Reuters)

As Super Bowl LI generated a record handle at Nevada sportsbooks, the topic is garnering the attention of even more important players. While there was much coverage on President Donald Trump’s sit-down with FOX News’ Bill O’Reilly during Super Bowl Sunday, it wasn’t the only interview the commander-in-chief gave over the weekend.

Appearing on American sportscaster Jim Gray’s Westwood One radio network program, the president was asked about legalizing sports gambling nationwide.

“What I’d do is sit down with the commissioners. I would be talking to them, and we’ll see how they feel about it,” Trump explained. “Some would not want it, I’ve read others maybe do. I would certainly want to get their input and get the input from the various leagues . . . It will be studied very carefully.”

While vague, the president’s remarks are the first time he’s opined on potentially even considering repealing the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA). The 1992 federal statute made sports gambling illegal in all but four states. Today, only Nevada takes advantage of its legal exemption.

Record Haul off the Record

The Patriots’ comeback over the Atlanta Falcons set all sorts of records, and out in the desert, Nevada sportsbooks got in on the history-making game.

The Nevada Gaming Control Board revealed this week that the state’s 196 sportsbooks collectively took $138.48 million in bets on Super Bowl LI, the highest handle in history.

Oddsmakers won $10.93 million for a hold of 7.9 percent. Once again, Vegas sportsbooks got it right, and have now won nine Super Bowls in a row. The bookmakers have only lost two Super Bowls since 1990. Their biggest win came in 2014 when they snagged $19.67 million on the Seattle Seahawks thumping of the Denver Broncos 43-8.

While the unaudited revenue report is certainly great news for Nevada sportsbooks, the haul is pennies to what overseas and offshore books likely took in. The American Gaming Association estimates that Americans placed $4.5 billion on the big game through unregulated outlets.

Goodell and Plenty of Boos

The NFL season began by NFL Commissioner suspending Patriots quarterback Tom Brady for four games for his alleged involvement in “Deflategate.” It ended with the superstar winning his fifth ring and being crowned Super Bowl MVP.

Goodell didn’t stick around long on the trophy podium, as fans expressed their distaste for the commissioner through loud booing.

Oakland Raiders owner Mark Davis is trying to move the franchise to Las Vegas despite Goodell’s preference for the team to stay in California. Patriots owner Robert Kraft and Dallas Cowboys boss Jerry Jones have both hinted at lending their support for the Sin City Raiders.

Goodell, meanwhile, refuses to give into allowing an NFL team to play in Las Vegas.

Regarding sports betting, Goodell said this week, “We need to make sure that there’s a fine line between team sports gambling and the NFL. We want to protect the integrity of our game.”

Despite billionaire Las Vegas Sands tycoon Sheldon Adelson abandoning the stadium plans, Davis is pressing on.