The arena where his Washington Capitals and Wizards play opens an hour or so before games and empties out quickly after, but he expects all that will change in years to come as arenas become casinos of a sort — open nearly around the clock to capture a coming mania for legalized sports betting.
“I think you will see buildings like Capital One Arena being reimagined,” Leonsis tells USA TODAY. “So we want people to come into our buildings to have lunch, to have dinner when there’s not a game in the building, watch other games on television, do research, bet, wager — and look at our buildings as really alive, dynamic sports cathedrals.”
Yes, it involves reimagining. EVERYTHING involves reimagining. It's a buzz word, just ignore it.
IF what Leonsis says turns out to be even 70% true, then Texas could find itself in a competitive disadvantage going forward, since the State does not allow, and is unlikely to allow, any betting other than the Lottery and horse racing, the latter of which the Texas Legislature is trying it's level best to shutter.
Other states, such as Utah, who have an aversion to any betting would also find themselves behind, both monetarily and from a fan-experience stand-point as teams in gambling-progressive states open up vast new streams of revenue for team owners allowing for bigger expenditures, better rosters and better facilities than their poorer brethren have the ability to afford.
This does not mean that Texas, or other states, should open up their borders to casino gaming. In fact, I'm on record suggesting that Texas should not. I was behind it initially, but the more I thought about it I could foresee Texas getting it wrong, the luxury "resorts" everyone envisioned falling victim to the Texas proclivity for doing everything on the cheap, where people see a Texas Bellagio rising from the prairie I see a bunch of sawdust joints. And if you've never been in a true sawdust joint (also known as grind joints) they are among the most depressing places in the world.
Texas doesn't need that, and they don't need the problems that come with gambling addiction, drug use, prostitution and property crime that accompanies it. So, no to casino gaming then.
But, and this is a rather big but, Texas COULD benefit from legalizing what tens of thousands of Texans are already partaking in illegally: Sports betting, both physically and on-line.
Illegal sports wagering is a Billion dollar industry. A large portion of that Billion is spent right here in the Lone Star State. Local sports-talk radio hosts openly talk about getting their action down online. So, it's clear that the State doesn't have much of an appetite for stopping the practice, Texas might as well legalize it, tax it, and decriminalize all of those who are participating.
Will the tax on this "save Texas Schools"? No, of course not, and gambling proponents who say that are putting their heads in the sand. Are Louisiana's schools awash in gaming cash? No. Are Oklahoma's tribes richer than the dreams of Midas? Of course not. Are Nevada schools built with the finest Italian marble? No, in fact, each of those states has some of the lowest education scores in America. Granted, most of that is due to bad political leadership, but the idea that you can just throw money at a government problem and make it go away seems to be discredited in every area of life except for the Government.
We are governed by idiots, elected by us and then treated as experts in the field. But, if they're idiots, what in the hell does that make us?