Las Vegas awarded first major sports team

Las Vegas awarded first major sports team

Thursday, June 23, 2016 Totally Gaming
The NHL franchise will play in Nevada from next year

Las Vegas is to host its first major sports team after the NHL hockey league announced the Nevada city as its latest expansion franchise.

The yet-to-be named team will play at the T-Mobile Arena, the $375m (€329.0m) joint venture between MGM Resorts International and the Anschutz Entertainment Group, that opened off the Las Vegas strip in April, from the 2017-18 season.

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman announced the decision after the league’s board of governors voted unanimously to take a team to the city.

“We think this is a tremendously exciting opportunity, not just for Las Vegas, but for the league as well,” said Bettman, who described Las Vegas as “a vibrant, growing, global destination city".

US sports leagues have always been reticent about moving to Nevada due to fears of the influence of betting on the integrity of their games. However,  NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell recently told ESPN that "all of us have evolved a little bit" on gambling, with plans for the Oakland Raiders franchise to move to Las Vegas continuing to progress.

The worries over betting have led to suggestions that Nevada gambling operators may be banned from offering markets on the NHL team’s games.

However, the Las Vegas Review-Journal newspaper reported that local bookmakers have not been contacted about any such prohibition.

Jay Rood, sportsbook director for MGM Resorts, which owns the team’s new T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, said: “I would think if the NHL is coming to Vegas, they would embrace it.

“My opinion would be that we should go ahead and book it; we don’t have an ownership interest, it’s just a facility relationship.”

TotallyGaming.com says: “Nevada’s move away from gambling towards a wider entertainment offering is almost complete now that it finally has its first major sports team.” 

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