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AGA says ‘perfect storm’ brewing for betting; Survey shows Americans are split on issue

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The American Gaming Association says a “perfect storm” is coming together for legalized sports betting.

“We have a perfect storm coming together,” says AGA president Geoff Freeman. “You have leagues, you have broadcasters, you have law enforcement, you have the casino industry—everyone is acknowledging that we are better off having a regulated environment.”

And there is renewed optimism thanks to Donald Trump, a former casino owner turned POTUS.

Casino and gambling supporters are optimistic that Trump could smile on their efforts, not just due to his casino past, but because his casino past was not a controversial issue during the campaign. That, coupled with Las Vegas getting a pro hockey team, are encouraging to Freeman and the AGA.

“Look at what happened in 2016, it was a remarkable year,” Freeman says. “You had an NHL team awarded to Las Vegas, you have an NFL team that’s ready to move to Las Vegas if they can find a stadium to play out of, you had a presidential debate in Las Vegas, and now you have a president of the United States who used to be a casino owner, and during the course of the campaign, the issue of casinos, and gambling, never came up.”

A recent Seton Hall survey shows that Americans are split on the topic of sports betting legalization.

A Seton Hall sports poll released on Thursday finds that 46 percent of Americans support legalization of full-scale sports betting, while 42 percent disagree.

But that number varies strongly by age groups. Of respondents under 30 years old, 67 percent preferred the choice “It’s been said a lot of people bet on sporting events anyway, so government should allow it and tax it” rather than “It’s been said legal betting on sporting events is a bad idea because it promotes too much gambling and damages the integrity of sports.”

For ages 30-44, support dipped to 48 percent – then to 42 percent of those age 45-59 and to just 30 percent of those age 60+.

In 2010, a Fairleigh Dickinson University national poll showed 39 percent support and 54 percent opposition to legalizing sports betting.

“If younger people carry those beliefs forward, as they become lawmakers themselves, we could see a major shift in the legality of sports gambling,” said Rick Gentile, director of the poll, which is sponsored by The Sharkey Institute.

An eSports arena is set to open in Las Vegas on Friday.

Millennial Esports in Neonopolis is set to open a 15,000-square-foot e-sports arena on March 3 with a three-day Halo tournament.

“As soon as I got into this (e-sports) industry, I knew I wanted to be in Las Vegas and specifically in downtown Las Vegas,” said Alex Igelman, chief executive officer of Toronto-based Millennial Esports. “The demographic and everything about downtown fits perfectly with esports — you know the millennials.”