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08 December 2005

The Marlins' Road Show Begins: Vegas Time

Buried in a MLB.com article about Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria's economic justifications for conducting a fire sale of his roster is a tasty little nugget about Las Vegas. The quote comes straight from MLB COO Bob DuPuy.

Las Vegas is ripe for relocation, but there are concerns from the league regarding betting on baseball. When Las Vegas officials made their pitch to the Montreal Expos, who eventually became the Washington Nationals, the issue of betting wasn't resolved.

"Las Vegas made a very attractive proposal," said DuPuy about the city's efforts to attract the Expos. "There are issues with regards to Vegas indicated during that proposal. [There was] no willingness to take baseball off the books. I know that's a very, very serious issue with the Commissioner."

Taking gambling off the books isn't a complete dealkiller, but it has to be pretty close. As much as the major sports would love to be the first to get a share of the big money that comes to Vegas (and stays there, as the ad says), none of the leagues wants to be remotely associated with gambling. That goes double for baseball, which still has the stench of the steroids scandal all over it. Though I wouldn't be surprised with the notion that if one league were brave enough to enter Las Vegas despite the sport still being on the books, the others would be falling all over themselves to be next.

4 comments:

jrbh said...

I read a story a few years ago that Las Vegas pitched the idea of an NBA expansion franchise to David Stern. (Quotes figurative, not literal.)

Stern responds enthusiastically.
"Of course," he said, "you'd have to ban gambling on the games."

"No problem, Mr. Stern. We don't allow betting on teams based in the state, like UNLV basketball."

"No, you don't understand. There won't be an NBA team in Las Vegas unless there is no betting on the entire league, period."

"Bye."

Georob said...

Okay, so Vegas is probably the fastest growing market in the US right now, but what does it consist of? Largely service sector jobs through the casinos? Retirees without young families?

How about industry, or high tech? Or are we talking call centers looking for the cheapest US labor pool before they go to Sri Lanka?

murf said...

georob,
The second largest job base in LV (according to a friend who lives there) is growth-based, ie: construction, real estate, mortgage and title companies, etc. Not to mention the large population of people, wealthy people, who have a second home in LV. There are alot more families living there full or part time now than just a few years ago.

The Cactus Leaguer said...

Unless something drastic happens, that "growth based" economy is going to shrivel up soon (within 5-7 years at the current pace) in Vegas because they are running out of land. The federal government owns most of it and they are in a catch-22: hold it, and Vegas runs out of land; release it, and unleash environmental issues, water rights issues, etc.