Last year, Las Vegas sports books collected $828 million in football wagers, which included both the National Football League and college games over the course of both seasons, according to the Nevada State Gaming Control Board.
Gamblers wagered about $80 million on last year’s Super Bowl game between the New England Patriots and Carolina Panthers alone, said Robert Walker, the director of race and sports betting for MGM Mirage casinos.
But Las Vegas represents just a fraction of sports betting in the country, said Walker, of MGM Mirage casinos.
“I believe that if there’s, say $100 million wagered on the Super Bowl here, there’s probably $500 million wagered off-shore,” said Rick Allec, general manager of the Las Vegas-based Internet site www.donbest.com, which ranked North Carolina as its most prosperous state. It does not offer online gambling.
National Basketball Association players must undergo a training seminar when they enter the league on issues facing players, said Scott Leightman, vice president of public relations for the Charlotte Bobcats.
Part of the seminar addresses gambling, he said.
“Obviously, we have policies with conjunction with the league, we don’t support gambling,” Leightman said. “It is part of our contract, but like any other team policy, we don’t get into specifics (with the media).”
Betting on sporting events, even office pools or friendly wagers, are out-of-bounds under North Carolina laws, District Attorney Mike Lands of Gaston County said.
“North Carolina law is pretty general – you can’t gamble,” Lands said. “A lot of people think you can.”
But at the same time, prosecution of such cases are rare. Lands compared Judi Qq gambling with a poker game between friends – both are illegal, but unless police receive a complaint, law enforcement can do little to stop it.
Lands couldn’t recall a case in Gaston County involving someone being charged for gambling on sports. Office pools fall into the verboten category, he said, but prosecuting such cases is difficult.
“We would be more interested in someone running an organization for profit, than some guys getting together to bet on a game among themselves – but, yes, friendly bets are against the law.”
Gaston County Police Assistant Chief Gale Bess agreed with Land’s assessment. Police would prosecute sports betting rings, but most are not high-dollar operations and players generally don’t advertise their wagers, she said.
“Unless someone calls us, we generally don’t know about it,” Bess said.
Lands said he doesn’t expect the state’s gambling laws to change anytime soon, even if the state gets a lottery.
“It’s interesting, you hear about North Carolina starting a lottery occasionally,” Lands said. “I would bet that if the state got into the lottery business they wouldn’t change these other laws. These kinds of things – like video poker – the Legislature needs either outlaw it or allow it. It’s difficult for law enforcement the way it is now.”