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McCain Loved Gambling But Tried To End College Sports Betting


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Harry Reid said he told Arizona Senator John McCain that he loved him; and McCain returned the sentiment in the last days before he died.

McCain also loved gambling in Las Vegas. But he was a thorn in the side to the sports betting industry for a while when he tried to ban betting on college sports.

John L. Smith had a memorable run-in with the senator, too.

Smith recalled that during the discussion over McCain's bill that would have banned betting on all amateur sports the senator visited Las Vegas for a fundraiser and to gamble.

While he was gambling at Caesars Palace, Smith approached him to ask about the bill. An aide told him he could talk to him following the next day's fundraiser.

Undeterred, the next day after the fundraiser, Smith approached McCain to ask if thought it was hypocritical that he was gambling the night before while he was trying to ban legalized sports betting on some games.

“I have rarely experienced the stare and glare that I got from John McCain in that moment,” he said.

Smith recalls being put back on his heels and feeling his knees buckle a bit. The veteran reporter knew, "this is a guy who is ferocious."

The bill to ban sports betting on amateur sports failed but McCain proved to be a fierce advocate for his point of view.

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Wining and Dining in Carson City:

There is a growing fear in the state that the Carson City landmark restaurant Adele’s might be closing or changing owners.

“Even rumors of it closing or changing hands, will bring tears to the eyes of those who love it so much. I got to be honest with you, I hope it doesn’t change hands. I hope it stays open forever," Smith said.

The owners of the legendary eatery are looking towards retirement and Smith admits they deserve their rest.

But Smith says it is "one of Nevada's great restaurants" and it is a place where politicians, lobbyists, and journalists meet, eat and drink during the legislative session.

While the future of one important restaurant in Carson City is in question, an old haunt might be revived. Jack's Bar was once the place for lawmakers and lobbyist to get a drink during the session. 

It closed several years ago, but Smith has heard rumblings that someone is planning to revive the watering hole.

He said whatever remodeling and improvement will need to be finished fast to reopen in time for the next legislative session, but if it makes it, “if it is open it will be filled,” Smith said.


John L. Smith, KNPR contributor

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