The NCAA will now allow championship competitions in states that allow single-game sports betting.
Announced by the NCAA on Thursday, the NCAA Board of Governors already suspended its policy last year in light of the U.S. Supreme Court overturning the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 that previously only allowed Nevada to have state-sponsored sports betting. The NCAA’s Board of Governors voted to fully rescind its championship event policy this week as states all over the U.S. are beginning to allow sports betting.
The NCAA’s new policy should allow for Nevada to host NCAA championship events — including the men’s and women’s NCAA tournament. While Nevada has been a hotbed for conference tournaments, it hasn’t had a chance to host March Madness — even as the city is filled with people there to watch the NCAA tournament every year.
The recently-built T-Mobile Arena and UNLV’s Thomas and Mack Center could both host early rounds while the new Raiders’ dome that is being built could also be an enticing spot for a Final Four. The NCAA tournament already has hosts lined up through the 2022 NCAA tournament, but Las Vegas is planning on bidding for the tournament for 2023 and beyond.
In a report from the Las Vegas Sun in March, Pat Christenson, the president of Las Vegas Events, said that UNLV and the LVCVA are also on board for the city hosting March Madness.
“We’re optimistic,” Christenson said in March. “I think the relationship between the NCAA and Las Vegas has been improving a lot in the past two or three years. We think we’re an attractive destination and there aren’t all that many options for regionals in the West.”
The NCAA continues to oppose all betting on amateur athletics — regardless of recent federal rulings. The NCAA continues to push for amateur athletics betting to be banned from any future federal legislation involving sports betting.
While that issue will have to await any further movement from the government, the NCAA lifting this policy should open the door for Las Vegas to host the NCAA tournament — potentially within the next five years.
(H/t: David Purdum, ESPN)