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If you thought that the only way the Oakland Raiders could shake up March Madness would require not just inter-league, but also inter-sports, play, then you've had your head buried too deep in your bracket. The big news out of the NFL could have massive ripple effects throughout the entire professional and collegiate sports industry, or maybe just the sports gambling industry (which for many is synonymous with March Madness).
That big news involves the Oakland Raiders' move to Las Vegas being approved. While the Raider nation in Oakland will undoubtedly be upset by the move, putting a professional sports franchise in Las Vegas is a much bigger deal than most people might realize.
No Sports for You
So what's the big deal with putting a professional sports team in Las Vegas? Traditionally, professional sports leagues have avoided the city of sin altogether in order to avoid the issues that come along with sports gambling. Among the primary issues involve the potential for corruption, as well as potentially taking away the wholesome, family-oriented, nature of sports entertainment. Proponents for sports gambling explain that the practice generates hundreds of billions of dollars of revenue annually, and a majority of that revenue goes to illegal gambling operations, escaping taxation.
However, the landslide approval of the Oakland Raiders' move to Las Vegas marks a change in the attitude of the NFL franchise owners toward legalizing sports gambling, even though the league commissioner still hasn't been won over. The NFL owners are not alone either as owners in many different leagues are beginning to come around and support legalization of sports gambling. Prior to the Raiders, Las Vegas recently acquired a professional hockey team, the Las Vegas Golden Knights.
Will This Lead to Legalized Sports Betting?
The move to bring professional sports to Las Vegas may seem like a far stretch away from legalizing all sports gambling, however, the move is being considered an important first step to legalizing not just professional, but also collegiate sports betting. Under Nevada law, the NFL may actually be required to get involved in regulating sports gambling if they don't want the people betting on or against the Las Vegas Raiders.
This is due to a provision that allows sports leagues to request that teams based in Nevada be excluded from wagering due to concerns over potential conflicts or corruption. While this still doesn't legalize sports gambling nationwide, it is bringing attention to massive amounts of lost taxable revenue.