While we are disappointed in the final outcome of today’s mark-up of S. 718, which resulted in the bill’s passage with amendments, the tie vote on Sen. Ensign’s amendment that would have essentially defeated this bill demonstrated that a measure to ban legal college sports wagering in Nevada is hardly the “slam dunk” the NCAA and its supporters have claimed. As was shown in the votes from last year to this year, the more members have learned about this issue, the less likely they have been to support this cosmetic approach. This bill, if passed, would not do anything to address illegal gambling on college campuses; in fact, according to expert testimony, it would only make it worse.
We continue to support substantive, comprehensive legislation that would strengthen enforcement and increase criminal penalties, evaluate the extent and causes of illegal gambling, and require schools to put in place education programs for their students. This legislation [S. 338 and H.R. 641] already is backed by more than 90 bipartisan cosponsors in the House and Senate.
Despite this equally divided vote on S. 718, we fully expect the NCAA to continue to pursue its agenda for a vote on the Senate floor. The AGA also will continue to make its case to members of Congress that S. 718 is the wrong approach to addressing illegal gambling - not only because the bill won’t solve the problem but also because it raises serious constitutional questions.