WASHINGTON, D.C. - Frank J. Fahrenkopf, Jr., president and CEO of the American Gaming Association (AGA), testified today before the House Judiciary Committee against a bill that would ban legal betting on college sports, saying the legislation would ‘impose the death penalty on Nevada’s sports books’ without any proof of a link between them and the widespread illegal gambling occurring on college campuses and in other states nationwide.
“The basic test for any legislation should be whether there is a demonstrable cause-and-effect relationship between the problem to be addressed and the solution to be enacted into law,” Fahrenkopf said. “Using this simple test, H.R. 3575, the Graham-Roemer bill, fails and fails miserably.”
In his testimony, Fahrenkopf documented how the bill would not achieve its stated goals, inflicting “needless economic hardship on Nevada’s tourist-dependent economy and putting the economic interests of thousands of Nevada families at risk.”
This bill will prompt newspapers to stop publishing point spreads.
“The Newspaper Association of America put this dispute to rest by advising the Committee in writing that papers will not cease the publication of point spreads even if this legislation passes.”
This bill will put the ‘amateur’ back in amateur athletics.
“If we are to return college sports to purely amateur status, it will take a Herculean effort. Under its new contract with CBS Sports, the NCAA will take in over 10 times more in the month of March each year ($550 million) from one sport than Nevada wagering nets in an entire year from all sports. … the NCAA has corporate sponsors from American Express to Pizza Hut and Pennzoil to Marriott that cements the highly commercial nature of college sports today.”
The presence of legal sports wagering in Nevada is sending a mixed message.
“Even though currently illegal, supporters of Graham-Roemer say that office pools and ‘tail gate’ wagers are fine, while attacking legal wagers in Nevada. If a $20 wager is OK when made in the parking lot of a stadium where the game is played, what makes a $20 wager in a regulated sports book thousands of miles away in Nevada so threatening?”
The NCAA has claimed that there were more scandals in the 1990s than in previous decades.
“There were more scandals involving more players affecting the outcome of games before modern sports books existed in Nevada [in the 1950s and 1960s].”
“Good theater is no substitute for informed public policy decisions,” Fahrenkopf told the committee. “Our goal should be finding real world solutions, not merely hype and slogans.”
To address the real problem of illegal gambling, Fahrenkopf urged Congress to support H.R.3125, H.R. 3800 and H.R. 4284, all of which address the issue on a national scope by mandating Justice Department action and strengthening penalties for violations of federal anti-gambling laws.
The AGA represents the commercial casino entertainment industry by addressing federal legislative and regulatory issues. The association also serves as a clearinghouse for information, develops educational and advocacy programs, and provides leadership on industry-related issues of public concern.