Nevada already has legal brothels, round-the-clock casinos and a coy catchphrase declaring that “what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.” If voters approve, the state could soon add another vice in the form of recreational marijuana.
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A proposal on the Nov. 8 state ballot would legalize pot, and entrepreneurs hope its passage could someday allow the drug at Las Vegas’ glamorous nightclubs and perhaps provide the framework for a future Amsterdam-style cannabis district.
“I really think this would be the third-largest market in the country,” said Derek Peterson, whose company operates marijuana dispensaries called Blum. He predicts that only California and New York would offer a bigger customer base than Las Vegas and its 42 million tourists a year. “I think it should be able to fit in really well with the whole dayclub/nightclub thing.”
Nevada has allowed medical marijuana since 2000, and Peterson sees recreational pot as an alternative for visitors tired of cocktails that can top $15 apiece and inflict hangovers. But before waitresses begin delivering high-grade marijuana at clubs along the Las Vegas Strip, weed proponents will have to win over not just voters, who narrowly support the initiative in polls, but a risk-averse casino industry.
The Nevada Resort Association came out against the measure, pointing to an opinion from gambling regulators that casino owners should avoid the marijuana industry because the substance remains illegal under federal law. Las Vegas Sands owner Sheldon Adelson has bankrolled most of the opposition, pouring $2 million of his fortune into a campaign that raises the possibility that small children could become intoxicated from candy-like marijuana edibles.
In spite of its libertine reputation, the rigorously regulated casino industry is known to err on the conservative side to avoid scandalizing the middle-aged tourists who are its bread and butter.
“I don’t know that this is a game changer in terms of tourism,” Virginia Valentine, president of the Nevada Resort Association, said of marijuana’s potential. “We’re really known for other things. You may attract people or turn them off.”
The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, which promotes Sin City’s amenities to the world, is neutral on the issue.
There’s no solid state-sponsored research on how legal recreational marijuana has affected tourism in places that have legalized it, although both sides point to Colorado to make their case.
Pro-marijuana interests cite a state study that found Colorado set an all-time tourism record in 2015, capping a fifth year of growth. It’s unclear how much of that is due to weed, and how much can be chalked up to other factors, such as good snow in recent years relative to competing ski states.
Marijuana opponents refer to a report from the Visit Denver tourism bureau that logged increasing complaints about panhandling and open marijuana consumption in the city’s downtown corridor.
“Denver is losing visitors and valuable convention business as a result of these overall safety (or perception of safety) issues,” the report said. “We fear not being able to brand Denver away from this growing reputation.”
Nevada’s ballot initiative would not allow municipalities to put blanket bans on marijuana, as Colorado does. But it would bar consumption in buildings that are open to the public and permit local governments to restrict the locations of marijuana dispensaries and related businesses. It effectively blocks people from growing their own by banning the practice within 25 miles of a licensed marijuana store.
Some of those provisions could be changed three years after passage. But even political leaders who are open to legalization say the embrace will not be immediate if voters approve the measure.
“I think it will be as much of a challenge for us as it will be a boon for us, because there’s no place in the world like Vegas,” said Democratic Rep. Dina Titus, whose urban district includes the Strip. “I think it’s going to take a while to work it out.”
Meanwhile, a Nevada lawmaker who has always pushed the envelope on marijuana says he’s requested a bill next spring that would allow Amsterdam-style pot coffeeshops and other places dedicated to public consumption. Democratic state Sen. Tick Segerblom envisions a pedestrian-centric outdoor entertainment district focused on giving visitors a new kind of “only-in-Vegas” experience centered around pot.
“It’s somewhere you do things you wouldn’t normally do,” said Segerblom, who’s so supportive of marijuana in Nevada that he sponsored a failed bill in 2015 to allow sick dogs and cats to use it. “Have fun, party, do things you wouldn’t do at home. Take a picture and brag about it.”
Weed And Gaba
Original Article via TheCannabist
Illinois' new marijuana sales brought in about $20 million in the first two weeks of legality. As impressive as that sounds, the real money will arrive soon, when the Illinois Gaming Board issues licenses or temporary operating permits for legal sports betting. Unlike the legal weed explosion, legalized sports gambling won't be tethered to supply shortages or inconvenienced by long lines.
Indiana opened sports betting in September and took in $436 million by year's end, with profits growing each month, according to the Indiana Gaming Commission.
With 14 states now offering legalized sports betting, and Illinois and five other states expected to get in the game soon, betting on Sunday's Super Bowl is expected to reach $6.8 billion, with more than 26 million Americans placing bets, according to the American Gaming Association.
While Illinois initially will require people to place sports bets at a casino, racetrack or large sports venue, Indiana found that once gamblers set up online accounts, most simply use their phones, tablets or computers to place bets. Being able to sit on your couch in front of a TV, or maybe even at the game, and bet on sports will create a gambling market such as we've never seen before.
I first realized how strong that pull of sports gambling was during a lazy afternoon at Wrigley Field in the summer of 1979. As I stretched across a couple of rows in the sparsely populated right-field bleachers, I watched a trio of fans bet a quarter on virtually every pitch. One seemed busy just keeping track of the bets with his scorecard pencil and a notebook. The other two wagered on whether the next pitch would be a ball, a strike, a foul, or something more exciting. It was interesting, sad, puzzling and exhausting.
I do remember they told me that the best bet on a 3-2 pitch was a foul ball, because you could win several times in a row if the batter kept fouling off pitches. I also remember that their final tallies of the day were within a couple bucks of each other. The odds have a way of evening out, and the gracious winner could buy the loser an Old Style to even things up.
That might not be the case when a fan is betting with his cellphone instead of a friend.
Wagering through online services such as DraftKings and FanDuel has an 18-month waiting period for those companies to apply for an Illinois online betting license, which means it might not arrive until 2022. But sports betting at brick-and-mortar locations in our state might be up and running in time to place March Madness bets on the NCAA basketball tourney.
When marijuana became legal on Jan. 1, I tried it for the first time in my life. When sports betting becomes legal, I won't have that same temptation. Gambling never lets me feel good. If I bet $10 on the Chicago Bears to win the 2021 Super Bowl and they lose, I feel bad for losing 10 bucks. If I bet $10 on the Bears to win next year's title and they emerge victorious at 25-1 odds to give me $250, I feel bad that I bet only 10 bucks instead of all the money I had.
Weed And Gambling Addiction
Super Bowl prop bets let you bet on outcomes ranging from the color of the Gatorade poured on the winning coach to how long Demi Lovato will take to sing the national anthem. That attracts gamblers who just like to be part of the action.
Weed And Gaming
By next year's Super Bowl, the combination of legal marijuana and legal sports betting should bring Illinois plenty of tax revenue from fans guilty of GUI -- gambling under the influence.