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October 21, 2014

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Wanna bet on who’s going to be president? You might get your chance at a Nevada casino

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Steve Marcus

A gambler checks his notes before betting after Super Bowl 48 proposition bets were posted at the Las Vegas Hotel Superbook on Thursday, Jan. 23, 2014.

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Tick Segerblom

What are the odds of Hillary Clinton being elected as the next president? Nevadans may get a chance to bet on who will be president and other federal elections under a plan that has resurfaced.

A legislative committee will decide Tuesday whether to recommend if Nevada should allow betting on federal election races, making available here bets that can already be placed overseas.

State Sen. Tick Segerblom, D-Las Vegas, introduced a bill in the 2013 Legislature to permit wagering on federal elections. Senate Bill 418 passed the Senate 14-7 but died in the Assembly Judiciary Committee without a vote, according to legislative records.

Segerblom is hoping for the backing of the interim legislative committee on the impact of technology upon gaming, which is meeting Tuesday in Las Vegas.

The odds on the outcome of the presidential election have already been posted by companies outside the United States.

Oddsmaker, based in England, has made Clinton an 11-8 favorite and Republican Gov. Chris Christie is listed at 9-1 to become the next president.

Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval is a long shot at 100-1 to win the presidency in 2016, according to Oddsmaker.

Segerblom said 20 million pounds was wagered in England on the previous U.S. presidential election. One pound is roughly equal to $1.69.

"It's already going on," Segerblom said. Nevada could make money as the only state to permit the betting on presidential and other federal races. It would not apply to local state races.

Opponents were worried the betting could influence the outcome of elections or could drive down voter turnout if the odds on a candidate get too great.

Nevada's gambling business is "stuck in a rut," and this will give bettors something new, said Segerblom, dismissing arguments against the plan.

Nevada's sports book operators voiced support for the bill in 2013. Segerblom hopes to get their backing again.

He wants to get the support of the off-session legislative committee but said he will introduce the presidential gambling bill in 2015 no matter what happens.

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