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Gaming Guru

 

The NCAA and Gambling

26 August 1999

Over 30 years ago, Bob Dylan wrote: "Don't criticize what you don't understand" in one of his classic songs, "The Times They Are A-Changin".

When I think of the proposed federal legislation against college sports books, this lyric quickly comes to mind.

First, in should be understood that there are more scandals in Washington or on Wall Street in any given year than in sports betting in any given decade. Matter of fact, there have been fewer than a dozen uncovered instances in college wagering history. Also, if it were not for the sports books in Nevada, most of them would never have been uncovered at all.

The facts can not be disputed.

A few years back there was a great deal of unusual betting on a basketball game in which Arizona State was playing. The legal sports books in Nevada alerted the officials and the scam was exposed.

Most fixes or point shaving scandals are done through illegal bookies to avoid detection.

In Las Vegas there are surveillance camera at the betting windows. Transactions are recorded. There are also forms that have to be filed when major amounts of cash are wagered. Also, there is a great deal of communication between sports book managers from property to property. Computers have helped in efforts to keep track of the bets and, maybe even more importantly, who's doing the betting.

If the legislation passes, the wagering in college athletics will not disappear; it will only be driven underground or offshore. I spoke with a prominent attorney about this issue and he told me that the illegal bookmakers won't step forward to report any unusual betting patterns because of the jeopardy they would put themselves in. Offshore books are not being monitored and the government has no power over the islands in which they operate. In a nutshell the NCAA will lose their best ally in sports enforcement - the Nevada sports books.

The government and NCAA are carting out legendary coaches and witnesses who believe that legal sports betting in Nevada is the culprit for the wagering frenzy on our high school and college campuses.

Do the sponsors of this bill truly believe if they make it illegal in Nevada, sports betting in this country will just dry up and blow away? Are our elected officials really that naive? Or, is this just one of those issues that is easy to vote for on the surface? When someone mentions betting and students in the same sentence, almost everyone will find something wrong with it at first blush. We elect our representatives to have the character and vigilance to look beneath the surface and do what is best for all those involved.

Nevada has been a responsible state in dealing with the issue of college sports wagering and the policing of the action.

A word to the "wise" politicians behind the legislation: Don't wish for something. You may get it. If this bill passes, the NCAA will wish for the good old days when they had a friend to help them clean up the mess. Mark my words, the mess is inevitable if this legislation passes. I may not be able to tell you "I told you so", because we may not even know when game-fixing happens.

There won't be the legal sports books in place to expose it.

The NCAA and Gambling is republished from Online.CasinoCity.com.
Howard Schwartz
Howard Schwartz, the "librarian for gamblers," was the marketing director for Gambler's Book Club in Las Vegas, a position he held from 1979 to 2010, when he retired. Author of hundreds of articles on gambling, his weekly book reviews appear in numerous publications throughout the gaming industry.

Howard Schwartz Websites:

www.gamblersbook.com
Howard Schwartz
Howard Schwartz, the "librarian for gamblers," was the marketing director for Gambler's Book Club in Las Vegas, a position he held from 1979 to 2010, when he retired. Author of hundreds of articles on gambling, his weekly book reviews appear in numerous publications throughout the gaming industry.

Howard Schwartz Websites:

www.gamblersbook.com