Political wagering may be off limits in Las Vegas but bookies and punters are still keeping a close eye on the Republican race to the White House. Sunita Rappai reports.
The bright lights and glitz of the Las Vegas Strip - the undisputed gambling capital of the world. But in a town where virtually everything is fair game for a bet, presidential politics is off limits - because Nevada's gaming commission strictly forbids wagering on political races. With the Republican caucus descending on the State though, veteran bookies like Jay Kornegay are keeping a close eye on the action. (SOUNDBITE) (English) JAY KORNEGAY VICE PRESIDENT RACE AND SPORTS BOOK LAS VEGAS HOTEL "Well it is interesting because the momentum has been changing back and forth and you think that one might have a foothold on the race and then the next thing you know someone else pops up and grabs the momentum." Those laying wages on the horses were also willing to offer an opinion, even if they couldn't place a bet. Unsurprisingly, many favour Republican front runner Mitt Romney. (SOUNDBITE) (English) EDWIN KESSLER, PATRON AT LAS VEGAS HOTEL SPORTS BOOK "Well I sort of like Mitt Romney, I think he's the favourite, he is the front runner, if there was speed in the horse race he would be the speed.." (SOUNDBITE) (English) ALEX COPPOLA, PATRON AT LAS VEGAS HOTEL SPORTS BOOK SAYING: "I say Romney, but the way that I am picking horses today I don't know." For Kornegay, the race to the White House is very much like your average horse race. (SOUNDBITE) (English) JAY KORNEGAY, VICE PRESIDENT RACE AND SPORTS BOOK FOR LAS VEGAS HOTEL, SAYING: "Are there similarities yes absolutely, so when you sit there and handicap you just look at the factors and strengths and weaknesses of what the polls say, where they've won, where they are leading, et cetera. You take all the information and probably make a line but I'm not going to." A victory by Romney, who holds a strong lead in Nevada polls, will further cement his position as the Republican front runner. Sunita Rappai, Reuters