Nevada Moves To Protect Sports Bets

Friday, March 23rd 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) _ Legislators want Congress to keep its hands off college sports betting in Nevada.

A statement won unanimous approval in the state Senate urging Congress to oppose any law to block Nevada sports books from accepting wagers on college sports.

Senate Majority Leader Bill Raggio said the resolution may not have the force of law, but it's the only way the state can show its collective opposition to a congressional ban on college sports betting in the state.

``To do nothing is worse,'' he said. ``At least this formulates our opposition.''

The Assembly approved the resolution unanimously earlier this month.

During hearings, witnesses testified that $350 billion is bet illegally each year in the United States. Nevada sports books take in about $2.5 billion a year in legal sports bets, of which about one-third is on college sports.

NCAA official Bill Saum told state lawmakers last month that the presence of legal college sports betting in Nevada has desensitized Americans, particularly young people, into thinking illegal betting is acceptable. He said polls show 25 percent of college athletes have bet on sports.

Although Nevada sports books have helped bring convictions against fixers, Saum said they have not prevented the fixing of sports events. He added that the principal fixers in the Arizona State and Northwestern point-shaving scandals testified that they bet at legal books in Nevada.