Can You Bet on the Oscars in Las Vegas?

Oscar Statue With a Sportsbook Background

The betting world used to only focus on sports. However, bookmakers have expanded their offerings over the years to other areas.

Case in point, entertainment events like the Academy Awards (a.k.a. Oscars) have become quite popular at sportsbooks. Both serious and casual gamblers like wagering on this premier movie awards show.

Considering how popular Oscar’s betting is, it should be available in Las Vegas. After all, Sin City is the world’s biggest sports gambling market.

But can you actually wager on the Oscars in Vegas? I’ll answer this question below and cover Nevada’s take on the matter.

Vegas Doesn’t Allow Entertainment Betting

Home to dozens of sportsbooks, Las Vegas gives you the opportunity to bet on just about anything. You can of course wager on popular sports like basketball and football, but you can also place bets on the more-obscure like badminton and ping pong.

When it comes to entertainment betting, though, no Vegas sportsbook currently covers this area. They don’t offer lines on the Oscars, Grammy Awards, or anything similar.

As I’ll discuss later, this situation could change in the near future. For now, though, you must find somewhere else to bet on the Oscars.

Why Hasn’t Nevada Approved Oscars Betting?

Multiple reasons exist for why Nevada hasn’t allowed gambling on entertainment events. You can read more on each of the reasons below.

Previous Denial

Entertainment betting has a very brief history in Las Vegas. The Nevada Gaming Control Board (NCB) received one request to offer this type of gambling in 2012.

They denied this request on grounds that they hadn’t approved any non sporting betting yet. However, they continue to remain open to suggestions.

As of now, though, sportsbooks can’t offer Oscars odds. They still need to go through a significant amount of red tape before they’d be able to roll out this form of wagering.

No Recent Requests

The NCB received requests for Oscars betting in 2012 and political gambling in 2013. They nixed both ideas and haven’t heard about either ever since.

Of these two options, entertainment wagering is definitely the most-logical choice to be approved in the near future. However, no operator has made another request for Oscars gambling since 2012.

Wide View of Las Vegas Sportsbook

Bookmakers don’t seem to be salivating at the chance to offer this type of betting. Considering that Vegas set a record for sports gambling revenue last year, bookmakers are doing just fine with what they already have.

Sportsbooks Don’t See Massive Profit Potential

Las Vegas bookmakers don’t just throw up lines on anything. Instead, they consider the profitability of each market.

Bookmakers would draw plenty of action on Oscars gambling. On the other hand, they must not see enough profitability to push for this form of betting right now.

Otherwise, at least one operator would have requested to take wagers on the Oscars. Everybody has been silent on the matter so far, though.

Wait & See Approach

Las Vegas and the state of Nevada as a whole are far from the only American sports betting markets. Ever since the fall of PASPA, well over a dozen states have regulated sports wagering.

Each of these new markets has the opportunity to individualize their sports betting. Some states have chosen to legalize Oscars gambling.

Nevada operators could merely be taking a wait-and-see approach on how this kind of gambling pans out. Assuming it is a success, they’ll probably start sending requests to the Gaming Control Board.

Will Vegas Ever Be Able to Offer Oscars Betting?

The Silver State used to be the only game in town as far as American sports betting goes. They were grandfathered into PASPA and were the only state that could feature full-blown sportsbooks.

This situation changed, though, in 2018. Now, Las Vegas has more competition than ever before in the NBA betting market.

Sin City is still going to draw more sports bettors than any other location for the foreseeable future. But it also needs to think about how it can continue standing out from nearby competition.

Oscars betting is one way for Las Vegas to expand its market. Assuming they offer entertainment bets before the majority of other states, they could further separate themselves from the pack.

The fact of the matter is that no Vegas sportsbook is currently taking bets on the Academy Awards, Grammys, or anything of the like.

They now have the opportunity to do so, but they continue putting the most attention on sports.

I definitely see Las Vegas accepting Oscar bets at some point in the future. My prediction is that at least one sportsbook will be taking these wagers by 2022.

I’m actually surprised that not one operator has requested to offer Oscar betting since 2012. This will no doubt change now that sportsbooks in other states can accept such wagers.

Where Can You Bet on the Oscars?

You may not be able to wager on the Oscars right now. As you’ll see below, though, you do have some options for placing these types of bets.

New Jersey

The Garden State paved the way for getting PASPA repealed. They had previously complained that it was unfair for Nevada to be the only state with sportsbooks.

New Jersey has taken full advantage of their legal rights to feature sports betting. They’ve not only legalized gambling on all types of sports but also on the Oscars.

NJ sportsbooks can accept wagers on the Academy Awards and other similar events. They’re currently one of only two states that allows this type of wagering.

However, New Jersey’s Oscars betting has come with limits. You can only wager up to $500 on the Oscars at the time of this writing.

But Garden State bookmakers can take much larger bets on basketball, baseball, football, and many other sports. Nevertheless, the fact that New Jersey allows Oscars wagering to any extent is impressive.

Colorado

Colorado legalized sports betting in 2019. They’ve currently just launched their betting markets at the time of this writing.

Despite having such a young market, though, the Centennial State decided to include Oscars betting in the mix. Both Colorado residents and visitors can already gamble on entertainment events.

This state doesn’t have quite the gambling history as New Jersey and its casino mecca, Atlantic City. But with its 5.8 million residents and healthy tourism industry, Colorado looks poised to do quite well with sports betting.

Offshore Sportsbooks

The average American doesn’t see betting on the Oscars as any big deal. After all, they’ve had access to this type of gambling for years through offshore sportsbooks.

Offshore bookmakers are located in foreign countries and serve the US without approval from the federal government or any states. They’re often known as “unregulated” or even “black market” sportsbooks.

Crowded Las Vegas Sportsbook

These operators only need to adhere to the laws within their respective jurisdictions. Many of these online sportsbooks are located in places like in Antigua or Costa Rica.

They don’t obtain approval from Nevada or any other American gambling jurisdiction. Instead, they just feature lines on whatever they want.

These operators do avoid states with regulated betting markets, such as New Jersey, Nevada, and Colorado. But they continue serving the vast majority of other Americans living in states that haven’t yet approved sports wagering.

Other Countries

Outside of Nevada, the American sports betting market is still fairly new. Operators and regulators are still getting a feel for what does and doesn’t work.

A number of other countries, however, have featured legal sports gambling for much longer. The UK is a perfect example of a nation that’s allowed betting for many years.

They first legalized this activity in 1961. Therefore, the UK sports betting market has had many years to mature and come up with new ideas.

Entertainment betting has been legal in this country for a long time. Various other European countries also allow Oscars gambling.

Conclusion

The Nevada Gaming Control Board hasn’t approved Oscars betting. However, they haven’t received any requests about this type of betting since 2012 either.

The GCB would probably be more open to such requests now that other states allow Academy Awards gambling. Therefore, Vegas sportsbooks could potentially be accepting these types of bets within a few years.

But until then, you can’t wager on this long-running award show. Your best option for doing so as an American is to visit New Jersey, visit Colorado, or use an offshore sportsbook.

If the prospect of wagering on the Oscars excites you, you’ll need to place your bets through another avenue other than Vegas for the time being.