Is there anything more fascinating, frustrating or just plain futile than watching our tax dollars in action via the inane antics of politicians?
Certainly the efforts of the denizens in our nation’s capital to ban legal wagering on college sports events, exposes the clueless politicians who are jumping all over themselves to back this bill.
One of the leading supporters, Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kansas, hung himself out to dry with a typically convoluted judgment when he called sports betting the “gateway” to addictive compulsive gambling.
We’ve been monitoring the action from inside the Beltway where our paternalistic representatives do business, and it’s sort of like watching women’s tennis. Lots of volleys and running around, but it takes a while to get a decision.
But one of the good guys, Senator Harry Reid, D-Nevada, has created an inspired strategy designed to take the steam out of one of the anti-gamer’s key arguments.
Historically, Nevada-based teams have been off the boards for betting purposes. This cast some doubt on the Nevada Gaming Commission’s ability to police the sports wagering industry, which backers of the proposed legislation have used to buttress their position.
Reid’s strategy, adding Nevada teams to the betting rotation, defuses the argument that schools are vulnerable to gambling pressures.
It’s a clever ploy, and whether it works or not, it shows that someone in Nevada is not rolling over. Many bettors as well as workers in the sports betting industry are not thrilled by the apparent lack of big-time effort by the casino industry to save sports betting.
Meanwhile, the most bizarre development to come out of this attempt by our elected representatives to determine the nation’s lifestyle choices, is the whiney support it is getting from college coaches.
It seems these big macho heroes, who have no qualms about screaming at their own players, have very tender and sensitive psyches when they are the target of criticism.
Lou Holtz said he has had football teams booed for winning. “The difference was the pointspread,” he explained.
The poor dear, we certainly hope he doesn’t have a nervous breakdown over getting booed for not covering. Thank goodness he didn’t have such problems last year at South Carolina. With an 0-11 record, he was booed for just not winning.
Kentucky basketball coach Tubby Smith cited people coming into his office and complaining that he is not winning by enough. Reportedly, his wife said to him once, that the team should be okay that evening, because the line says Kentucky is going to win.
Such poignant tales designed to elicit sympathy actually are counterproductive. It simply shows these molders of character can dish it out to the players, but are averse to taking heat, which comes with the territory.
As this legislative session winds down, there is optimism here in Nevada that our politicians will be able to whip their politicians, and keep the bill from going to a vote on the floor of the House or Senate.
But there is also pessimism that unless some sort of philosophical breakthrough occurs, or there is a sudden shift in the country’s puritanical mindset towards gambling, eventually betting on college sports in Nevada will be history.
And that will set in motion the ultimate downsizing of sports books. Goodbye 11-10, hello video poker.
thedailyspread.com | June 30th, 2000
– – – – – – – – – – – –About the writer
A long time sports betting columnist, Buzz Daly