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John L. Smith: Super Bowl's Biggest Winner Was Las Vegas


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The Philadelphia Eagles are the new champions of the National Football League following their exciting win over the favored New England Patriots in Sunday’s Super Bowl.

And while halftime show featuring Justin Timberlake was, by various opinion-makers, either a smash or a disaster, and many of those laundry detergent ads are still bouncing around the internet, John L. Smith says one thing is certain. 

That Super Bowl did Las Vegas a world of good.

“What I think the big game does for Las Vegas as Las Vegas’ image changes… it makes this spectacle of entertainment more acceptable and the more acceptable that sports is as an entertainment the more likely people are going to be warming up to the idea of gambling,” Smith said.

Currently, only Nevada has full, wide open sports betting. A law passed in 1993 doesn't permit sports betting outside of Nevada and a few other states.

However, New Jersey is challenging that in court and its case is currently before the Supreme Court. Smith said if the court rules in New Jersey's favor as many 20 states could be ready to legalize sports betting.

An estimated $140 million was legally bet on the Super Bow but $4.6 billion was wagered illegally.

The argument that the American Gaming Association makes is that is money that is going unregulated and untaxed. Smith believes as more people see the Super Bowl as entertainment and a spectacle and not a football game they will be more comfortable allowing sports betting all the time.

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Not only did sports books take in a record amount of bets, but the spectacle of the halftime show was so Vegas-like, Smith says, it pretty firmly cemented the connection between The Strip and the NFL.



John L. Smith, contributor

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