Intersection

Why the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics matter to Las Vegas

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Los Angeles will host for the first time since 1984.
Photo: Jae C. Hong / AP

In 1984, the last time LA hosted the Summer Olympics, Las Vegas was home to just over half a million residents. And the time LA hosted in 1932? Legal gambling was only a year old. But by 2028, when the SoCal city hosts again, Las Vegas will be more than ready to benefit from the global gathering. Here’s how:

We could host Olympic soccer matches. “Football” is so popular, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) will need lots of large venues. “It doesn’t take a genius to know that the IOC will like Vegas; there’s a sexiness to the market,” says Las Vegas Pro Soccer founder Brett Lashbrook, who also worked on New York City’s 2012 Olympic bid. Lashbrook is “1,000 percent” in support of Las Vegas hosting Olympic soccer. He also envisions Nevada hosting potential training camps for international teams. The draw? LA will feel easy after acclimatizing to our summer heat.

Betting on gold, silver and bronze. Nevada is the only state in the country where you can legally bet on the Olympics. When big sporting events happen in Arizona—like the Super Bowl and the annual Fiesta Bowl—Las Vegas gets a bump. Fans fly into McCarran, have a little fun, place their bets and then travel on to the game. They’ll travel through a second time to collect their winnings or drink to their losses. Think of us as the world’s tailgate party.

LA locals will escape to Vegas. In addition to attracting international visitors in the region, UNLV Center for Gaming Research Director David G. Schwartz sees a potential market for “Angelenos looking to get away from the traffic and commotion.” He thinks the 2028 Olympics could have a positive impact on Las Vegas, but “the key will be to program events that will appeal to both groups.” With the Raiders’ stadium and who knows how many pro teams, it’s safe to say Las Vegas will be up to the challenge.

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C. Moon Reed never meant to make Las Vegas her home, but she found a kindred spirit in this upstart ...

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