The Nevada Gaming Commission Thursday authorized UK sportsbook company Betfred to begin operations in the state, and bettors can expect to see the newest entry to Las Vegas by the Super Bowl.
The Commission voted 3-0 to license Betfred, which will operate at the Mohegan Sun Casino at Virgin Hotels Las Vegas. The former Hard Rock property has been without a sportsbook since it reopened in March 2021, awaiting the Betfred licensing process that stalled during the pandemic.
Mohegan Sun General Manager Joe Hasson said the equipment to take sports wagers is onsite, but hasn’t been installed yet.
The discussion lasted about one hour, an hour less than at the Nevada Gaming Control Board on Wednesday. After routine scrutiny during the special meeting, the Board recommended approval.
Betfred executives have been questioned about past actions in the UK where it has been fined for failures to comply with social-responsibility and anti-money-laundering policies.
“We deal with a lot of people who are doing business all over the world and this process isn’t easy or simple,” said Commission Chair Jennifer Togliatti. “We ask a lot of hard questions and sometimes the way those questions are answered are defensive. The way you answered those questions speaks to your character. You’re an open book. You accept responsibility for mistakes. You move forward and make changes. That’s what regulators like to see.”
Commissioner Oganna Brown said she hearing about the genesis of the company, in which England’s win in the World Cup funded Fred and Peter Done, brothers who founded the company in 1967. Today, Betfred has 1,400 betting shops, the second most in the UK.
“You’ve come a long way and the people you’ve surrounded yourself with over the years speak volumes,” Brown told Fred Done. “Your accomplishments — your brother and everyone who helped build your empire and create a legacy — are something you should be proud of. I’m pleased you’re finally getting licensed and growing a business here in Nevada.”
Done called Betfred a family business, with operations now in the UK, Africa, and the U.S.
Commissioner Rosa Solis-Rainey called Betfred “a wonderful partner for Nevada.” She appreciated the investment in opening the company’s U.S. headquarters in Las Vegas in 2019.
When the sportsbook opens at Virgin, mobile wagering won’t yet be available. That will likely come in the fall ahead of the college football and NFL seasons. Neither will there be a race book. There will be seating for up to 100 people, a dozen 80-inch TVs, four ticket windows, and two self-serve kiosks.
Nevada is the 10th state where Betfred is licensed and will operate. The others are in Arizona, Colorado, Iowa, Louisiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Washington, Virginia and Maryland. Seven other launches are pending in Alabama, California, Indiana, Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, and Oregon.
The company created a stir online Wednesday when Done announced that Betfred will pay out Super Bowl futures bets already made on the Cincinnati Bengals, with which Betfred has a partnership. Those will be paid out before the Bengals play Kansas City in the AFC championship game. The futures bets on the Bengals to win the AFC will be graded as normal.