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UnKind cut: College
bet ban on

Apr 1, 2003 3:13 AM


As expected, bipartisan legislation has been introduced in the United States Congress that would outlaw all betting on amateur athletics.

Legislators led by Reps. Ron Kind, D-Wis., and Tom Osborne R-Neb., introduced the Student Athlete Protection Act last week after meeting with more than 20 NCAA Division I coaches, administrators and presidents.

The bill, if passed, would close a loophole in Nevada state law that allows gambling on all high school, college and Olympic sports.

Kind predicted the Nevada lobby would put up a strong fight to block the measure.

"We’re fighting the gaming interests in Las Vegas and Atlantic City, who obviously want to keep it legal," Kind said.

University of South Carolina head football coach Lou Holtz is also a supporter of the bill.

"The idea of sports wagering has created problems for our young people," Holtz said.

Kind is a former quarterback for Harvard in the 1970s when a point-shaving scandal occurred in the Ivy League. Osborne coached Nebraska football to three national championships in 36 years.

"By continuing to allow Nevada sports books and the gambling industry to usurp billions of dollars from fans, players and families across the U.S., we are supporting an industry that is considered illegal in every state in the nation," Osborne said.

Gaming fills $ gap

A growing number of states are moving to expand gambling operations to help plug budget holes and avoid the prospects of raising taxes on income or sales, according to a Chicago Tribune report.

Left in the rubble are politicians such as Wisconsin state Sen. Fred Risser, who complained to colleagues that "there is no socially redeeming purpose in gambling. It just sucks money out of the economy."

In Michigan, Gov. Jennifer Granholm has talked of renegotiating gambling contracts with Indian tribes.

Last month, the Indiana House approved the creation of a new casino in French Link, hometown of legendary Boston Celtics great Larry Bird. Iowa is considering the placement of three more gambling boats as well as permitting table games at racetrack casinos.

Texas, which has historically opposed many forms of legalized gambling, is considering the use of keno games, casino gaming and multi-state lottery games to offset a $9.9 billion deficit.

Monica Kearns, an analyst at the National Council of State Legislatures, said that last year nearly a dozen states considered expanding gambling. Detroit’s three casinos contribute one-third of the city’s annual tax revenue.