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No NFL Draft Day Betting In Nevada

James Murphy
by in NFL on
  • Las Vegas hosted the 2022 National Football League (NFL) Draft, with Round 1 taking place on Thursday night.
  • Betting on the first round of the NFL Draft closed 24 hours before the first pick was made due to Nevada Gaming Commission regulations.
  • In other states such as Iowa and Colorado, draft betting was available right up until the start of the first round.

The NFL Draft is underway in Las Vegas with the first round in the books. So far, it appears to be a success with plenty of fans in town. It all appears to be good natured excitement unlike the Las Vegas NBA All Star Game debacle a number of years ago where spectators of the event were more interested in committing crimes than expressing their fandom. There’s even draft betting on the board in Nevada–at least since 2017–so it must have been exciting for fans to place their bets then sit down and enjoy the fun.

Actually, it wasn’t. Nevada Gaming Commission regulations are required to close draft betting at 5 PM Wednesday. You know, the day *before* the draft. Meanwhile, in states like Colorado and Iowa draft betting continued right up until the event began. Not that local bookmakers really mind–they get killed by the ‘sharps’ on the draft every year. In fact, BetMGM in Las Vegas closed draft betting 24 hours earlier than required.

For years, the rule was that for an event to appear on the board at Nevada sportsbooks it must be determined on the field of play. That meant that you could bet the NBA All Star Game, but couldn’t bet on the MVP of the game. You could bet NFL futures for the next year just as soon as the previous year’s Super Bowl ended but you couldn’t bet on the NFL Draft. Season win totals were OK, awards like rookie of the year were off limits.

As sportsbooks around the world zoomed past Nevada in terms of influence, the state reactively decided to allow NFL Draft betting in 2017. A few years earlier, they had implemented a complex process of approval for non-sporting events–which comprises anything other than an event with an outcome determined on the field of play–though it is so arduous and convoluted few events even bother to be put up for approval. The World Series of Poker is one of the few events that has been permitted under this provision. The Nevada regulations for ‘Race Books and Sports Pools’ are a trim 17 pages, but the regulations for approving a non-sporting event (22.1201 Other Events) weighs in at more than a full page. Check out this blather:

The regulation goes on for about a third of page 11 with verbiage that is just as inscrutable. Not exactly something that encourages innovation, now is it?

Here’s how the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported the Nevada Gaming Control Board’s approval of NFL Draft Betting on April 7, 2017:

For the first time in Nevada, bettors will be able to wager on the NFL Draft, scheduled for April 27 to 29.

The Nevada Gaming Control Board granted approval Thursday for the state’s sports books to offer prop bets on the draft, according to board chairman A.G. Burnett.

Bettors won’t be able to wager on which player will be the No. 1 overall pick. But they’ll be able to wager on the total number of quarterbacks drafted in the first round, whether there will be more offensive players than defensive players drafted in the first round, and the over/under of the draft position for the first kicker taken, to name a few.

Other approved props include the total number of players drafted from a particular college or conference for the first round and for the entire draft.

There also will be matchup props on which college and/or conference will have more players drafted in the first round and in the entire draft, as well as other props.

This explains why you couldn’t bet on Travon Walker to be the top pick in the draft, but you *could* bet on his draft position being ‘Under 1.5’.

There wasn’t much explanation given for the ‘all bets must close 24 hours before the draft’ stipulation at the time. Since sportsbooks in Nevada get killed every year booking the draft, there’s not been much complaint from the bookmaking community. Even with the NFL actually holding the draft in Las Vegas there wasn’t any serious discussion about changing this rule. Never mind the fact that tens of thousands of visitors are in town for the draft, which has been called by some ‘the biggest event in Vegas history’. My thinking–if Nevada is going to take action on the NFL Draft do it right. And above all else, let bettors get down right up until the draft starts. If other states do it, a state that purports to be the ‘gold standard’ in gaming should do it.

We’ll talk about how the sharps bury the sportsbooks on draft day in a subsequent article.

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