Recently, I wrote about a company in Nevada who sought approval to install one of their products in Nevada casinos that would allow daily fantasy sports betting on a pari-mutuel platform. Well, according to the Las Vegas Review Journal, US Fantasy just got unanimous approval from the Nevada Gaming Commission to move forward here. According to Vic Salerno – owner of US Fantasy – the pari-mutuel platform will be available in August and will be ready to roll for this year’s football season. He hopes to have 80% of the casinos in Nevada linked in to his system. On a personal level, what this means to me is that there could be another wagering avenue available for our annual autumnal visit to Las Vegas this year.
There has been this debate regarding daily fantasy sports; is it gambling or is it a game of skill? As you know, my position is that daily fantasy sports are the same as poker; if one is a game of skill then so is the other. If one is gambling …
I thought that Vic Salerno had an interesting way to look at those questions from the report in the Las Vegas Review Journal:
“If you and I get into a free-throw shooting contest, it’s a game of skill. When we start betting money on it, it’s gambling.”
The move by the NHL to put a team in Las Vegas has put that city in the spotlight with regard to any realignments in sports leagues or any expansion plans. The Oakland Raiders are making nice with city officials in an attempt to get a stadium built there for the team; Adam Silver has thrown away the “bugaboo of gambling” as a barrier to having the NBA in Las Vegas; even MLB Commish, Rob Manfred says that is a “viable alternative” for an MLB franchise and that the casinos there would not be a barrier.
Actually, I think there are three significant barriers between now and the time when an MLB team calls Las Vegas home.
1. MLB has one existing franchise that needs a new stadium and another that needs something to boost attendance. The Oakland A’s play in a dilapidated facility that suffers random sewage backups into dugouts and/or locker rooms. The Tampa Bay Rays do not draw flies and some folks attribute much of that to the stadium in which they play. No matter what happens, MLB has to find ways to prop up those two franchise situations. Maybe that means moving one to Las Vegas; maybe that means using Las Vegas as a prod to get some civic money set aside for stadium constructions. Those two situations come first…
2. MLB and the MLBPA have a new collective bargaining agreement to negotiate. The other way to get a team in Las Vegas would be via expansion and my guess is that expansion would become a bargaining issue in the upcoming talks. Ideally, MLB and the MLBPA would find a way to use the new CBA as a way to accomplish assistance for the A’s and the Rays while simultaneously pointing the path to any expansion that might occur during the time allotted to the new CBA.
3. Mother Nature has a part in this opera. Baseball is played in the summer; I have spent time in the summer at Nellis Air Force Base which cannot be more than 15 – 20 miles from the heart of The Strip. [I was there for a weeklong technical conference in late July/early August.] In the 8 days I was there, the high temperature every day was in the range of 110 degrees – and one day it was 114 degrees. Do not tell me about “dry heat”; at 110-114 degrees, it is mighty uncomfortable outside. And even in the early evening – when baseball games would start – the temperatures were still in the mid-90s. All this climatological talk means to me that any baseball stadium in Las Vegas would have to be domed and air-conditioned. The cost of the stadium would not be trivial…
Speaking of new stadiums, it could be that the Buffalo Bills are next in line for some kind of upgrade/new playpen. Bills’ owner Terry Pegula told a local radio station that he has not reached a decision yet on that issue but that the NFL has asked him if he has any plans to do something about the aging Ralph Wilson Stadium venue. According to a report at ESPN.com, the Bills lease with the local government for the stadium runs through 2022 and the stadium just got $130M worth of “upgrades” in 2014. Nevertheless, Ralph Wilson Stadium is 43 years old. Based on the ESPN.com report, Pegula has heard the comments of fellow owners about modernizing his facility and he has acknowledged a chat with Roger Goodell on the subject but he is not going to roll over and play dead. His answer to all of that for now is “We’ll look into it.”
The Pittsburgh Pirates will assault your taste buds – and alimentary canal – with a new sausage concoction this year. Here is the deal:
One sausage is placed on one piece of flatbread. Said sausage is then smothered with mac-and-cheese and cracker jacks. You then add condiments of your choosing to include things like jalapeno peppers, onions – – you get the idea.
The only thing missing here is chocolate sauce – – no?
Finally, with Derrick Rose being traded to the Knicks, his health/durability becomes a key concern for the fans and the tabloids in NYC. A while back, Brad Rock had this item in the Deseret News but it is still timely:
“Tennis star Roger Federer underwent the first surgery of his career after tearing a meniscus.
“The injury happened while filling the tub for his twin daughters’ bath.
“Note to Derrick Rose: Don’t even think about taking a shower.”
But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………