Senator believes Bush poses threat to Nevada gambling

LAS VEGAS - Nevada Senator Richard Bryan believes Republican presidential nominee George W. Bush poses a threat to Nevada gambling.

''George W. Bush is a bad bet for Nevada,'' Bryan, a Democrat, said Friday in a speech to gambling lawyers and regulators.

Bryan argued that Bush's public words about gambling have been almost exclusively negative and said it's logical to conclude a Bush presidency would hurt Nevada.

Addressing a luncheon of the state's gambling lawyers, Bryan discussed the congressional status of a number of gambling issues, including the proposed ban on college sports betting backed by the National Collegiate Athletic Association and the Kyl Internet betting bill.

''This is not about logic, it's about emotion,'' Bryan said about the proposed sports betting ban.

Nevada will be the only state affected by the ban, the senator explained, and prominent proponents such as former University of North Carolina basketball coach Dean Smith and Penn State football coach Joe Paterno, as well as university presidents and the religious right, make for tough opposition.

Bryan said the legislation would likely pass by a veto-proof majority if it gets to a vote on the floor, and he admitted he has no assurance that President Clinton would veto the bill if it did pass.

Nevada sports books' best hope is that the election-year calendar will prevent consideration of the bill this year, he said. He said if it doesn't pass this year, the bill will be back next year.

Bryan said the Kyl Internet gambling bill, which fell short last month of the two-thirds majority needed to bring is to the floor on the consent calendar of the House, must pass this year if it's going to pass at all.

The senator believes the bill is good for Nevada, but said the Christian Coalition's ambivalence toward the bill has hurt its previous bipartisan support.

Bryan said the Christian Coalition opposes the bill's exemption for closed-loop betting systems in Nevada, allowing state residents to wager with Nevada-based Internet sports books.

Bryan also said storing nuclear waste in Nevada is another issue which Nevadans should fear from a Bush presidency.

''If he's elected, we're in a world of hurt,'' he said.

He added that he believes he and Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., have the votes to stop a veto-proof majority from sending high-level nuclear waste to a temporary facility at the Nevada Test Site.

Bush has said science, not politics, should determine whether waste is stored at Yucca Mountain, but has not said he opposes the plan altogether.


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