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As It Embraces Las Vegas, N.F.L. Is Awash in Gambling Contradictions

As It Embraces Las Vegas, N.F.L. Is Awash in Gambling Contradictions

When N.F.L. owners voted overwhelmingly last month to move the Raiders to Las Vegas, some of them went out of their way to say the city was no longer the corrupting influence they believed it once was and now very capable of supporting a franchise.

The Dallas Cowboys’ owner, Jerry Jones, a prime backer of the move, said the city most closely associated with gambling “is not your father’s Las Vegas.” Even the N.F.L.’s commissioner, Roger Goodell, who continues to oppose legalized sports gambling, admitted that Las Vegas was “not the same city it was 10 or 20 years ago.”

Las Vegas has evolved enough for us to bless it with our presence, the league seemed to be saying.

But the decision to leave Oakland and embrace Las Vegas presents conflicts for a league that has long stood vehemently against gambling. A franchise will live in Sin City — a notion considered a nonstarter just five years ago — as a neighbor of the casinos and sports books that for so long were the enemy.

Goodell has said that the league’s policies are all about protecting the integrity of the game, but they amount to a hodgepodge of contradictions.

The league continues to fight legal efforts that would effectively let states other than Nevada and Delaware introduce sports gambling even as leagues like the N.B.A. and the N.H.L., which have stood with the N.F.L. in court, have softened their stance on the issue. The N.F.L. also continues to penalize players and other league personnel who are paid to appear at casinos even as team owners collect millions of dollars from sponsorships with casinos, state lotteries and fantasy football providers, and play games in England, where sports betting is legal.

Just this month, for example, several players participated in an arm wrestling event at the MGM Hotel and Casino on the Vegas Strip, and the league is considering whether to fine them for those appearances.

“How can you have a franchise there and not allow players to participate in arm wrestling contests?” said Scott Rosner, who teaches sports law and business at the University of Pennsylvania. “When you get into the weeds, the policies may not be as inconsistent as they seem, but the optics are that the league is very inconsistent on this.”

The N.F.L., though, will remedy these contradictions, Rosner said. The Raiders will play in Oakland for at least two more seasons, giving the owners time to revisit their rules and bring them more in line with the reality that gambling has become far more ubiquitous than the days when gamblers had to place bets through a bookie or at a racetrack.

The N.F.L. is often criticized for having a double standard on gambling, in part because the public seems to be more accepting of betting on games. A recent poll by researchers at Seton Hall University found that just 21 percent of respondents thought the N.F.L. was tarnishing its reputation by putting a team in Las Vegas. While it’s hard to imagine another American city prompting such a negative reaction, it is also a far smaller percentage than might have been the case even a decade ago.

In the immediate future, the league will tread more slowly because a lawsuit brought by Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey to allow casinos in his and other states to open sports books is still pending. The N.F.L. and other leagues have argued for years that permitting sports gambling beyond Nevada and Delaware would harm them. When that case concludes, the N.F.L. will be able to revisit its stance on gambling, said Daniel Wallach, a sports gambling lawyer at Becker & Poliakoff in Florida.

The league is not averse to sports gambling and recognizes that there is a lot of money to be made, he added. The key, he said, is for the league to manage the process by, for instance, lobbying Congress to introduce a national policy on sports wagering instead of facing variations in each state.

“They’re not fighting to stop sports betting, they’re fighting allowing states to come up with their own apparatus in their own ways,” Wallach said.

If anything, this is good business, and if there is anything the N.F.L. has shown, it is good at making money. The league certainly recognizes that the growth of DirecTV’s N.F.L. Sunday Ticket, which lets fans watch every game, and Verizon’s N.F.L. RedZone, which shows every scoring play, has been driven by people who gamble on football. Fans who bet on N.F.L. games watched more than twice as many games as nonbetting ones during the 2015 regular season, according to a study by Nielsen Sports financed by the American Gaming Association.

The question, then, is how the league continues to prevent the perception, real or otherwise, that games might be influenced by gamblers, while also adapting to a changing world in which casinos and gambling in general are becoming more pervasive.

“We have to make sure that we continue to stay focused on making sure that everyone has full confidence that what you see on the field is not influenced by any outside factors,” Goodell said last month. “We will not relent on that.”

Parking rate hikes begin today at several Las Vegas casinos

Parking rate hikes begin today at several Las Vegas casinos

Las Vegas visitors will have to pay more for parking beginning today as hotels and casinos raise their parking fees after they started charging guests to park their vehicles in mid-December.
Las Vegas visitors will have to pay more for parking beginning today as hotels and casinos raise their parking fees after they started charging guests to park their vehicles in mid-December. (Brian Jones / Las Vegas News Bureau)

The good old days of widespread free parking at casinos ended in 2016. Now, with some properties raising those initial fees beginning Wednesday, it’s enough to make you yearn for the halcyon days of last year when parking was just cheaper.

MGM Resorts International is again leading the charge — just as it did less than a year ago when it was the first to announce the elimination of free parking on most of its Las Vegas Strip properties. Others followed suit, leaving just a few holdouts offering free parking.

It’s a dizzying array of rate hikes centered on a tiered time schedule and a casino’s location. Here’s the easiest one to remember: The first hour remains free at all MGM properties.

For self parking at MGM Grand, Mandalay Bay, The Mirage, Delano and New York, New York, instead of getting up to four subsequent hours at $7, only the first two will be charged at that rate. After that, the next two hours jumps to $10. Beyond four hours, it climbs an extra two bucks to $12.

Prices for self parking are also jumping at Aria, Bellagio and Vdara under the same tiered system. Those rates are now $7, $12 and then $15.

Valet parking prices are up as well.

It had been $13 and $18 at eight of the properties including MGM Grand, but they now range between $15 and $25. The top rates are again at Aria, Bellagio and Vdara.

Monte Carlo, Excalibur and Luxor remain the cheapest MGM properties charging for parking, beginning at $5 and capping at $10 for a full day.

Among the casinos on the Las Vegas Strip still allowing free self parking are the Cosmopolitan, Stratosphere, Wynn, Treasure Island, the Venetian and Palazzo.

Circus Circus, owned by MGM Resorts, will continue to offer free unlimited self-parking but is charging for valet parking.

Yvette Monet, spokeswoman for MGM International, said the increase was “based on market analyses we have conducted since we implemented the program.”

Treasure Island is so adamant it doesn’t have plans to begin charging for parking, a spokeswoman said they are in the process of adding free parking to advertising campaigns. Both the Venetian and Palazzo — owned by Las Vegas Sands Corp. — also said they still don’t have plans to charge for parking.

The Cosmopolitan will begin charging for parking May 16.

Caesars Entertainment, which owns seven properties on the Strip, recently began charging at the Linq, Bally’s, Paris, the Flamingo and Caesars Palace. Next week, it will add the Cromwell and Harrah’s to the pay-to-park list.

Unlike MGM, however, Caesars properties continue to offer free parking for locals. MGM eliminated that perk at the end of last year.

Anthony Lucas, professor of casino management at the University of Nevada Las Vegas, said the parking fee hike was probably already built in as a strategy to avoid hitting people too hard with the initial introduction of it last year.

“I would say it’s a scheduled rate hike,” Lucas said. “We’ll roll it out cheap and raise it in a year. They map out the cash flows year to year to year until they get to where they want to be. Or at least monitor to see how it’s going.”

But the hike comes on the heels of two other price increases for visitors to Las Vegas.

Last month, resort fees went up at some properties by as much as $3 and a room tax hike of .088% approved by the Nevada Legislature also kicked in to help fund a new stadium for the soon-to-be Las Vegas Raiders.

The parking fees on the Strip have given places like downtown and other off-strip properties a marketing wedge issue to work with, however.

David Strow, spokesman for Boyd Gaming, said they were using a “Don’t Get Stripped” marketing campaign to try and siphon customers to places like Main Street Station and the California Hotel and Casino — along with off-Strip properties such as the Orleans.

Parking at the Orleans is free and the two downtown properties offer validated parking when customers either gamble, stay or dine at the casinos.

Why Everyone Should Visit Las Vegas At Least Once

Why Everyone Should Visit Las Vegas At Least Once

A very unique city situated in the southern portion of Nevada is Las Vegas. It is known as Sin City, but outside of that name, it should be also regarded as one of the most fun and exciting places that you could ever visit. The city does have a multitude of different casinos, so if gambling is something that you enjoy, you will definitely want to visit. However, there is so much more to offer when you visit the city. Let’s take a look at some of the top attractions that you will not want to miss.

Helicopter Rides To Grand Canyon National Park

If you really want to feel like one of the rich and famous people that can do anything, you will definitely want to go on one of the deluxe Grand Canyon helicopter tours. They will actually fly you directly from your hotel, taking you out across Hoover dam, and may actually land you down in the canyon. Some of them actually include kayaking as part of the event, and by the end of the day, you will be flown back to your casino hotel. It’s an exciting way to not only see Las Vegas from up above, but the amazing surrounding terrain provided by the flat desert land below and the Grand Canyon.

The Mob Museum

It was well-known that the mob actually controlled most of Las Vegas decades ago. It was a frightening place to be. However, that has all changed as corporations and wealthy billionaires now control most of the cities casinos. However, the history of the mob in Las Vegas has been preserved out the Mob Museum. It’s a place that thousands of people visit every year, and if you have never been to Las Vegas before, this should be one of your first destinations.

Las Vegas is a magical place both during the day, and in the evening hours. It has so much to offer in terms of having fun and seeing things that simply cannot be experienced anywhere else on the earth. It is a city that literally never sleeps, and if you get the chance to visit, it’s a place that you should certainly go if you have the time this year.



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How To Find The Best Las Vegas Apartments

How To Find The Best Las Vegas Apartments

When searching for a Las Vegas apartment, you should start by using an online real estate search engine. You may be able to find your apartment without having to hire a real estate agent, as these websites are usually nothing else but huge databases of properties available to buy or to rent.

Nonetheless, when using online search, you have to know exactly what kind of property you intend to purchase, as this is going to influence your research. For instance, if your goal is to find the best luxury apartments in Las Vegas, you’ll have to apply a price filter, as such properties are never cheap. It doesn’t make sense for you to spend time looking at cheap offers, as you won’t find your desired luxury among them. Similarly, you should set the desired number of bedrooms and bathrooms, as well as various amenities and features. If you need your apartment to come with a garage, don’t forget to mention this as an option. If you fancy a specific area of Las Vegas, limit your search within its boundaries. The more precise you are when defining your search conditions, the better your results are going to be. Nonetheless, if you are too picky, you may not get any result. In this case, you might want to remove one or two filters, and try a new search. This second attempt could be luckier.

If you can’t find your favorite listing from the first attempt, you can save your search with all its applied filters, so that you can get email alerts each and every time new properties matching your requirements are added to the database. This can be your personal real estate agent, working for you 24/7, all year round. The most beautiful part is that your virtual agent is also free of charge. You won’t have to pay any fees, so you’ll be able to have your desired apartment, while also saving some money.

If all these fail, you can always take the traditional route, which is to hire a local real estate agent to search the most suitable apartments for you. This is also a good solution, as it saves you a lot of time. You’ll need to pay the agent a commission, but it would be well worth it, taking into consideration that you might be able to find your dream home within a very short time.

Israel passes law legalizing thousands of settlement homes


Ariel Schalit / AP

In this Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2017, file photo, heavy machinery work at a construction site in the West Bank Jewish settlement of Ariel. Israel’s prime minister is moving ahead with a contentious law that would legalize dozens of settlement outposts in the West Bank, despite questions about the bill’s legality and a warning from the White House that settlement construction “may not be helpful.”

JERUSALEM — Israel’s parliament on Monday passed a contentious law meant to retroactively legalize thousands of West Bank settlement homes built unlawfully on private Palestinian land, a step that is expected to trigger international outrage and a flurry of lawsuits against the measure.

The explosive law is the latest in a series of pro-settler steps taken by Israel’s hard-line government since the election of Donald Trump as U.S. president. He is seen as more sympathetic to Israel’s settlement policies than his fiercely critical predecessor, and the Israeli government has approved plans to build thousands of new homes on occupied territory since Trump took office.

“We are voting tonight on our right to the land,” Cabinet minister Ofir Akunis said during a stormy debate ahead of the vote. “We are voting tonight on the connection between the Jewish people and its land. This whole land is ours. All of it.”

Critics say the legislation enshrines into law the theft of Palestinian land, and it is expected to be challenged in Israel’s Supreme Court. According to the law, Palestinian landowners would be compensated either with money or alternative land, even if they did not agree to give up their property.

The vote passed 60-52 in Israel’s 120-member Knesset following a raucous debate in which opposition lawmakers shouted from their seats at governing coalition lawmakers speaking in favor of the vote from the dais. Some legislators supportive of the law took pictures of the plenum during the vote while some spectators in visitors’ seats raised black cloth in apparent protest.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had voiced misgivings about the law in the lead-up to vote, reportedly expressing concern that it could lead to international censure and saying he wanted to coordinate with the Trump administration before moving ahead on a vote.

He told reporters on a trip to London that he had updated Washington and was ready to move ahead with the law. He was on his way back from the trip and was not present for the vote.

The White House’s immediate response was to refer to its statement last week that said the construction of new settlements “may not be helpful” in achieving an Israeli-Palestinian peace.

David Harris, CEO of AJC, the global Jewish advocacy organization, said: “Israel’s High Court can and should reverse this misguided legislation.”

“The controversial Knesset action, ahead of Prime Minister Netanyahu’s meeting with president Trump in Washington, is misguided and likely to prove counter-productive to Israel’s core national interests,” he said in a statement.

Netanyahu’s attorney general has called the bill unconstitutional and said he won’t defend it in the Supreme Court. Critics have warned it could drag Israel into a legal battle at the International Criminal Court at The Hague, Netherlands, which is already pursuing a preliminary examination into settlements.

Among the law’s problematic elements is that the West Bank is not sovereign Israeli territory and that Palestinians who live there are not citizens and do not have the right to vote for the government that imposed the law on them.

Palestinians condemned the law.

“This is an escalation that would only lead to more instability and chaos. It is unacceptable. It is denounced and the international community should act immediately,” said Nabil Abu Rdeneh, a spokesman for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

Netanyahu faced intense pressure from within his nationalist coalition, especially from the pro-settler Jewish Home party, to press ahead with the vote following the court-ordered evacuation last week of the illegal Amona outpost found to have been built on private Palestinian land. Over 40 settler families were forced to leave the 20-year-old outpost, and on Monday construction vehicles demolished and removed the trailer homes that remained behind.

Opposition legislators said Netanyahu’s support for the law was a high-stakes risk meant solely to curry favor with settler constituents and their potent political lobby.

“For how many settler votes is Netanyahu willing to pass a law that he admits will drag us to The Hague?” Zehava Galon, leader of the dovish Meretz party, wrote on Facebook ahead of the vote. “The prime minister declares that the legalization bill is dangerous for Israel and instead of standing on his hind legs to stop this shameful law, he presses ahead with it.”

After years of condemnations from the Obama administration over settlement construction, Israel’s government has ramped up settlement initiatives since Trump took office, announcing plans for some 6,000 new homes in the West Bank and east Jerusalem and promising to build a new settlement for the Amona evacuees.

Trump has signaled a far more accepting approach to settlements, raising hopes in Netanyahu’s government that it will be able to step up construction. The White House said little as Netanyahu announced plans during Trump’s first two weeks in office to build over 6,000 new settler homes. But after Netanyahu announced his plan to establish a new settlement for the first time in two decades, Trump indicated that he, too, might have his limits.

“While we don’t believe the existence of settlements is an impediment to peace, the construction of new settlements or the expansion of existing settlements beyond their current borders may not be helpful in achieving that goal,” the White House said.

The Palestinians want the West Bank, east Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip — territories Israel captured in the 1967 Mideast war — for their future state. Much of the international community views settlements as illegal and an obstacle to reaching peace with the Palestinians. Shortly before leaving office, President Barack Obama allowed the U.N. Security Council to pass a resolution declaring settlements illegal. Obama cited the Israeli outpost legislation as a reason for not vetoing the resolution.

Before the law passed, the U.N. Mideast envoy, Nickolay Mladenov, called on lawmakers to vote against the law, saying that “it will have far-reaching legal consequences for Israel and greatly diminish the prospects for Arab-Israeli peace.”

Tips For Travelling To Las Vegas

Tips For Travelling To Las Vegas

Are you planning to travel to Las Vegas anytime soon? If so, you are going to want to make sure that you are implementing some tips in order to save money on your trip and travel better overall. There is plenty that can be done when it comes to traveling better. Below, we will be going over some of the top tips to implement.

Top Tips For Traveling To Las Vegas:

1. Credit Cards.

One of the best ways to minimize the amount of money you can expect to spend on your travels to Las Vegas is your credit cards. If you are someone that has relatively good credit, you should be leveraging your credit in order to gain more miles that you can use on your travels. By using your credit, you will be able to minimize the amount of money you can expect to have to pay to travel to the various places you want to go. There are a lot of credit cards on the market that will actually provide you with enough miles to travel to and from Las Vegas for free. You just need to find the right cards and use them the right way to maximize the amount you are able to extract from them.

2. Hotel Websites.

You are going to want to utilize discount hotel websites when it comes to finding the ideal place to stay in Las Vegas. Your accommodations can get very expensive if you are not using the right kind of resources to find the cheapest and most affordable hotel deals. Try to narrow down your options by simply using these different websites that should be able to filter out hotels outside of your budget and help you easily find the best value hotels.

3. AirBnB.

Because the hotels in the area can get over crowded or overbooked, you might want to consider looking at AirBnB. This is especially true if you are planning on traveling during a time during the year where it is considered high season. By using this kind of website, you should be able to minimize the attempt for the accommodation to get the most money from you because they are going to be dealing with competition themselves and they are likely not going to charge you for the various sorts of overhead the hotels have to account for when they are pricing their rooms.

Patriots favored by a field goal over Falcons in Super Bowl 51


Associated Press

New England Patriots Tom Brady celebrates a touchdown pass against the Seattle Seahawks during the Super Bowl on Sunday, Feb. 1, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz.

Updated 2 hours, 27 minutes ago

Super Bowl 51

For the sixth time in the past 13 years, the New England Patriots are the betting favorite in the Super Bowl.

Local sports books opened the Patriots as 3-point favorites over the Atlanta Falcons ahead of Super Bowl 51 on Feb. 5 in Houston. Betting lines began surfacing before the Patriots wrapped up their 36-17 victory Sunday night over the Steelers as 6-point favorites in AFC Championship Game.

“Matt Ryan and the Falcons look unstoppable but now they’re going up against (Tom) Brady and the Patriots, who look just as good and are more experienced going into this,” said Jason McCormick, sports book director at Red Rock Resort. “I think that’s going to weigh on everyone’s head, and it wouldn’t surprise me if this went up.”

McCormick went into Sunday expecting to post the Patriots as a 3.5-point favorite over the Falcons in their potential matchup. Atlanta essentially shaved off a half-point by blowing out Green Bay 44-21 as 6-point favorites in the NFC Championship Game.

It was the first game throughout the entire playoffs that Station Casinos and MGM Resorts International profited on the point spread. The majority of public bettors loaded up on the Packers.

Casinos’ wins were still modest, however, because the game eclipsed the over/under of 60.5 points. The Steelers’ final touchdown also brought a windfall to bettors as the AFC Championship Game went over the total of 50 points with less than four minutes to go.

The Patriots’ and Falcons’ high-flying offenses have the Super Bowl over/under set at 59.5 points, the highest in the history of the NFL’s championship game.

“You just can’t make it high enough,” said Jay Rood, MGM’s vice president of race and sports. “People aren’t afraid to put big money on the totals anymore. We almost had as much money on the overs as the sides today.”

The public’s winning streak should boost betting volume on the Super Bowl. Rood described the average bettor’s bankroll as “flush right now,” and said they’d be itching to put the excess cash into action on the final game of the season.

Last year’s Super Bowl, where the Denver Broncos defeated the Carolina Panthers 24-10 as 5.5-point underdogs, set a state record with an overall handle of $132.54 million wagered. It would be a surprise if this year’s game didn’t surpass that figure.

“This is a great quarterback matchup, and an overall great matchup for the props,” McCormick said. “People are going to want to bet on everything, and we’re going to want to give them those opportunities.”

Once the Falcons prevailed in Sunday’s first game, it was important for the Patriots to join them to give the state the best chance at another Super Bowl betting record. Falcons vs. Steelers would have been around a pick’em, which would have eliminated moneyline bets on each side to win outright.

The only Super Bowl to not set a state record for betting volume in the last five years was the only one without a moneyline, when the Patriots edged the Seahawks 28-24 as 1-point favorites two years ago.

The Westgate Las Vegas Superbook made the Patriots a minus-150 (risking $1.50 to win $1) moneyline favorite in Super Bowl 51 with the Falcons coming back at plus-130 (risking $1 to win $1.30).

Bookmakers cautioned not to discount a surplus of wagers on Atlanta to win outright.

“The Falcons have been somewhat overlooked but they got their fair share of the action today,” Rood said. “It was definitely the public mostly all over Green Bay, but a lot more people are starting to buy into Atlanta.”

The Falcons would be one of the biggest underdog champions of all-time, as they were as high as 80-to-1 to win the Super Bowl at the beginning of the season. Even at the enticing odds, hardly anyone bet on them, according to Rood.

Atlanta has only one previous Super Bowl appearance, a 34-19 loss to Denver as 7.5-point favorites in 1999. New England has now reached the final game seven times since then, starting with their 20-17 victory over the Rams in 2002 as 14-point underdogs.

The Patriots are 4-2 straight-up and against the spread in the Super Bowl over that span, and usually commanded the bulk of the action on the betting line. Bookmakers lean towards that happening again, even though New England won’t be the most popular play on the board.

That’s reserved for the over. Bettors will be undeterred by the astronomic number.

“How can you bet a game under right now with the way these teams go over every game?” McCormick said. “I think people see these teams and all they do is attack, attack and attack. They feel like these offenses are impossible to stop.”

Case Keefer can be reached at 702-948-2790 or Follow Case on Twitter at

Who in Republican Party will stand up to Donald Trump?

Who in Republican Party will stand up to Donald Trump?

Friday, Dec. 23, 2016 | 1 a.m.

President-elect Donald Trump’s victory tour was more than just an opportunity to strut and preen around the country like a peacock with a comb-over. It was a warning to Republican leaders in Congress that Trump intends to be in charge — and that there will be consequences if the party establishment does not fall in line.
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