College sports betting is vital to economy | TahoeDailyTribune.com

College sports betting is vital to economy

Tahoe Daily Tribune

There must be more important issues our lawmakers can tackle besides coming up with legislation to ban collegiate sports betting.

Nevada, the only state where it is legal to bet on any sport, is being threatened by the likes of Republican Sens. John McCain from Arizona, Sam Brownback from Kansas and Lindsey Graham from South Carolina — all supporters of such a ban. This trio wants Nevada casinos to shred the parlay cards.

This is ludicrous. Betting on sports is an institution of sorts that — when done responsibly — like any form of gambling, can be fun and profitable.

March Madness, which we are in the midst of, is a time when casinos across the state are filled with bettors figuring out which is the best men’s and women’s college basketball team. It is one of the bigger betting periods for sports books.

A betting ban would certainly take a huge chunk out of profits from the casinos. It is not just the sports books that rake in the cash, but rooms are filled, restaurants are full and periphery businesses benefit.

When the casinos are doing well, we are all doing well on the South Shore. A financial threat to them should be considered a threat to all businesses.

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And the domino effect will hit individuals in the pocketbook if the tourists are not in town to drop their greenbacks. Undoubtedly, fewer workers would be needed.

This is the last thing we need. Our economy is already on shaky ground with snowpack being dismal and the threat of war hoovering overhead.

Why would anyone want to propel the economy in a downward motion?

The senators contend a ban on college sports betting would curb illegal gambling nationwide and eliminate game-fixing.

Yes, illegal gambling is something we have been living with since the beginning of time. Bookies are in every state accepting wagers on any sport. But banning college betting does not eliminate the entire problem.

If lawmakers are worried about illegal gambling, they should go after the perpetrators instead of targeting legal bettors.

Game-fixing? Please. Prove it is a problem before threatening to take the “sport” of betting away. Games can be fixed for reasons other than money.

The National Collegiate Athletic Association’s president supports the ban. The NCAA has thrust its support behind a betting ban since the idea was first introduced three years ago.

It is reassuring that Nevada Sens. John Ensign and Harry Reid have teamed up to fight the proposal.

They have our support as well.

If there are things going on surrounding college sports betting that are illegal, the NCAA or appropriate entity should deal with those issues individually. It is wrong to eliminate something that is usually harmless because a few people have tainted it.

College sports betting deserves to be available in Nevada just like professional sports betting is.

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