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Where The Action Is – Or May Be: Architects, Building Operators Get Set As Gambling Moves Toward Sports Venues

Sports gambling destinations are coming to arenas and stadiums, according to officials with Detroit architecture firm ROSSETTI, which has done work for both casinos and sports venues in the Motor City.
 
“We’ve been asked already by several clients to look at some really cool club areas that could have gaming going on at the same time as watching the event,” ROSSETTI President Matt Rossetti said.
 
It’s still early in the process, but the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling on Monday declaring the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act unconstitutional has created a whole new world for programming sports venues with gaming components. The ruling clears the way for individual states to legalize betting in their communities.
 
The ruling represents a huge step for betting enthusiasts, but several hurdles must be cleared before teams can make a move. And before it’s all said and done, there could be sweeping federal legislation in place, attaching greater restrictions to state laws.
 
In addition, facility managers must comply with another layer of regulations set forth by the leagues and teams before launching gambling retrofits at their buildings, said Lee Zeidman, president of Staples Center in Los Angeles, an arena with four tenants across the NBA, WNBA and NHL.
 
But make no mistake, teams have their eye on tapping into an industry that generates $150 billion annually from sports fans placing illegal bets, according to the American Gaming Association.
 
“It’s almost impossible to figure out how extensive these spaces will be,” Rossetti said. “But we know a lot of team owners are [also] starting to look at how to move office and administrative space out of their arenas so they can stuff it with gaming areas.”
 
Many teams are halfway there. They have casinos sponsoring premium spaces such as Mystic Lake Club Purple at U.S. Bank Stadium, Staples Center’s San Manuel Club and the MGM Grand Tunnel Club at Ford Field. In South Florida, Hard Rock International, whose name is on the casino owned by the Seminole Tribe down the road in Hollywood, Fla., holds naming rights for the Miami Dolphins’ stadium. In those deals, the activation in-venue revolves around hospitality and branding and does not extend to the gaming business.