Industry News

Staples Center could introduce ‘betting windows’

Gambling facilities could be introduced at Staples Center as part of a major revamp of the world-renowned Los Angeles entertainment hub, according to the complex’s president, Lee Zeidman.

Speaking to after receiving the Outstanding Achievement Award at TheStadiumBusiness Awards at Emirates Old Trafford in Manchester on Tuesday, Zeidman (right of picture alongside TheStadiumBusiness founder Ian Nuttall) revealed that so-called “betting windows” are under consideration after the US Supreme Court struck down a federal law prohibiting sports gambling last month.

“We are going to be 20 years old next year, so we’re in the process of looking at reinventing Staples Center,” Zeidman said. “We’re talking about what we’re going to do in the next two to four years and the new concepts we’re going to bring.

“Is there an opportunity for us to have a betting window or series of betting windows? Of course there is.”

Speaking more broadly about the impact of the Supreme Court ruling on sports and entertainment venues, Zeidman added: “I think it’s going to be a new revenue stream for a lot of different people.

“There is still a lot of legislation that needs to take place on a state-by-state basis – California being one of them – and I believe the various leagues are going to weigh in, as well as the teams and the owners of the venues.

“There are a lot of unanswered questions right now, but it’s very exciting what’s taking place. We’ll just see how it all unfolds.”

Zeidman, who is president of Staples Center, Microsoft Theater and LA Live, said that three architectural firms had been engaged to begin the process of rethinking the venue’s offering. One design company is set to be given the brief by the end of next month once the management team of the complex has “honed in” on the plan, in collaboration with stakeholders.

Zeidman also said that there is a focus on enhancing the venue’s premium options for visitors.

“We’re looking at whether we can reinvent the premium spaces,” Zeidman said. “Secondly, what do we do for the season-ticket holders? Is there a certain type of club or gathering space for the millennials and younger generations?”

The revamp will come on top of annual upgrades that usually cost between $4m and $6m every year, with the venue hosting 250 events per year.

“Our philosophy is that you don’t spend $450m on building an arena and then don’t refresh it and put in new technology,” Zeidman said. “We’re not just refreshing it for the people who work there or the four million people who visit every year, but we’re doing it for the teams as well.

“There are a lot of venues in Southern California that we compete with so we feel that we need to constantly update our venue to stay at the forefront.”