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What I Learned – Gambling Today: Florida’s Bustling Poker Rooms and Boxing’s Potential Nevada Return
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Get ready fight fans, it appears boxing is on the way back. We have now learned that Combat sports regulators are set to discuss the possibility of Las Vegas hosting boxing matches without fans.According to legendary Top Rank boxing CEO Bob Arum, the sport could see a return as early as June 9. The hopes are if they get the go-ahead they will be able to hold two events per week with no fans at a Las Vegas MGM property. A second fight card will be held two nights later on June 11, with ESPN televising both cards, kicking off twice weekly shows at hotels in June and July.The Nevada State Athletic Commission has scheduled its meeting for May 27 at 9 a.m. PT. NSAC commission members will attend the meeting via phone, rather than the traditional in-person meeting. If the sport does get the go-ahead to return, it would be the first boxing card to occur since nationwide restrictions were implemented in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.It should be noted that the hopes of the sport returning faces a tremendous obstacle. In order for the fights to take place they need the approval of Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak. It is widely known that casinos are part of Sisolak’s ‘Phase 3’ in “Nevada’s Road to Recovery”, however the Silver State is still waiting to enter ‘Phase 2’ of the plan.No fans will be allowed and fighters as well as all staff will be tested at least twice during fight week for the coronavirus. ”Once we get those fights in we will ask for additional dates,” Arum said. ”The key was getting enough testing, and we’ve got plenty of testing in Nevada to hold our events.”Sports fans around the country need to hear words like “Let’s Get Ready To Rumble” sooner rather than later.For more in-depth coverage on the world of boxing, be sure to tune into SI’s Boxing Podcast hosted by Chris Mannix.*****Businesses are beginning to reopen across the country, including many casinos. The live poker industry, which was expected to be crushed amid stringent reopening guidelines, threw us all a welcomed image late Thursday night from the state of Florida:The popular Hard Rock Tampa opened its doors and witnessed an amazing 18 tables in action, with a waiting list of more than 100 players. The 46-table room is only operating at 50 percent capacity with those 23 tables having a six-player maximum. This is a marked improvement on the over-the-top demand of four-handed play currently being proposed for Las Vegas poker rooms. Cards and chips will be cleaned on a regular basis and masks will be required of both employees and players.Talk about a return. What a way to end the week for Sports Illustrated’s Gambling Today. Let’s hope this is a sign of things to come to a popular industry that needs these kinds of immediate results. Shuffle Up and Deal Baby!MORE FROM SI GAMBLING