Casinos would abstain from bets on All-Star Game

7/30/2005 - NBA

Las Vegas will be the site of the 2007 NBA All-Star Game,
marking the first time the event will be held in a non-NBA city.

An official with knowledge of the decision, speaking on
condition of anonymity, confirmed reports in the Las Vegas media
that the city has been given the go-ahead to play host to the
league's showcase event.

Mayor Oscar Goodman and the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors
Authority had been making a strong push to land the game, and one
of the final obstacles was finding a way to convince a few luxury
suite holders at the Thomas & Mack Center to relinquish their boxes
in exchange for seats elsewhere in the arena.

Casino operators had already agreed to not take bets on the
game, one of the requirements the NBA laid out when the sides first
began talking about placing the game in America's most popular
gambling destination.

Commissioner David Stern has been open to the idea of holding
the All-Star Game in non-NBA cities, and during the finals he said
there was consideration being given to playing the 2008 or 2009
game in Paris.

League officials have made several trips to Las Vegas to scout
possible locations, including the Thomas & Mack Center on the UNLV
campus. Last month, state gambling regulators approved a league
request blocking Nevada sports books from accepting wagers on
All-Star events held in the state.

Such bans are not unprecedented. The Palms hotel-casino does not
accept bets on professional basketball games because it is owned by
the Maloof family, which also owns the Sacramento Kings.

Next year's game will be in Houston.