Casino puts sports betting discussions back on the table

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Philadelphia’s new casino, which is positioning itself right in the heart of the city’s professional sports complex, has the potential to bring something unique to the table – sports betting.

Sports betting is big business, according to the University of Nevada Las Vegas’ Center for Gaming Researching. In 2013, $3.6 billion was bet on sporting events, even though Nevada, Delaware, Oregon and Montana are the only places where it’s not outlawed by the federal government.

David Cordish, CEO and President of the Cordish Cos. – one of the entities, along with Greenwood Gaming and Entertainment, that was awarded Philadelphia’s second casino license last week – said he sees sports betting coming to Philadelphia.

“I think it’s going to come,” Cordish said in an interview. “But it’s very complicated with the federal government; it’s not just up to the Commonwealth.”

In May, the Pennsylvania Legislative Budget and Finance Committee released a report on gaming. It said sports betting at casinos could garner close to $150 million for the state, while online sports betting could top $160 million.

Cordish, who plans to open “Live! Casino & Hotel” in the sports complex in the next two to three years, said he feels sports betting is an untapped revenue source.

“The Commissioner of the NBA came out a few weeks ago and said, he’s in favor of it,” Cordish said. “But, look, that’s over my pay grade, but in my opinion, in due course it’s coming.”

Tony Ricci, CEO of Parx Casino in suburban Bensalem, said he can also envision a future where sports betting is the norm.

“There does seem to be momentum going that way,” he said.

With the Philadelphia area’s traditional gambling center, Atlantic City, N.J., on the rocks, New Jersey, Gov. Chris Christie is championing a law that would allow sports betting at his state’s casinos and racetracks. He’s been slapped with lawsuits by the NCAA and the country’s four major professional sports leagues. to block the move.

The leagues say sports betting would invite attempts to fix games and destroy the public’s perception of the integrity of professional sports.

Adam Levitan, Metro Fantasy Football columnist and former gambling columnist, doesn’t entertain integrity questions.

“Do you really think that one of the 76ers who is making anywhere between $3 million and $20 million in a year will be bribed by sports bettor?” he said. “Never gonna happen.”

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