WASHINGTON, D.C.—Frank J. Fahrenkopf, Jr., president and CEO of the American Gaming Association (AGA), testified today before the Senate Commerce Committee against a bill that would ban Nevada’s legal sports wagering on college athletics.
In his testimony, Fahrenkopf attacked the NCAA and its supporters for the myths they have perpetuated to advance their case and for their failure to give U.S. Sen. John McCain and his committee “straight talk” on this issue.
On the myth that Nevada’s sports books are an integral part of the problem:
- The [National Gambling Impact Study Commission found] that illegal sports gambling is as high as $380 billion annually, making Nevada’s wagering only 1 percent of the total. … Nevada’s sports books and their millions of law-abiding customers are part of the solution, not part of the problem.
On the myth that if Nevada’s sports books did not take college wagers, point spreads would not be published:
- Newspapers acquire this information from independent sources that are also available over the Internet.
On the myth that there have been more scandals in the 1990s than in previous decades:
- There were numerous scandals in the 1950s and 1960s involving many more players and many more games … well before modern Nevada sports books existed.
On the myth that Nevada’s sports books were “involved” in recent point-shaving scandals:
- To say Nevada’s sports books were “involved” when a handful of people tried to make money at the sports books’ expense is like saying the victim of a robbery is “involved” in the commission of a crime.
Fahrenkopf also was critical of the NCAA’s absence from the hearings:
- While we are here today to address the serious illegal gambling problem on the nation’s campuses and in our communities, the senior staff of the NCAA is not on the witness list. … Perhaps they do not want to explain to this committee why the legislation they now support contradicts their sworn testimony before the National Gambling Impact Study Commission. …
- Instead of being here, NCAA staff is in Indianapolis for the conclusion of another very profitable tournament. Just the TV revenues alone will bring in more than five times as much in one month as all of Nevada’s sports books will make on professional and college sports wagers in an entire year.
- … this is a problem on NCAA member campuses, where students are betting with other students on the outcome of NCAA-sanctioned events, or doing so over the Internet with illegal, offshore cyber-bookies. Who better to take the lead than the NCAA itself?
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.