Updated Federal Gambling Laws Could Be on the Horizon
Congress isn’t too keen on the current state of federal gambling laws, a notion that has sparked serious interest in updating the official stand on gambling on a federal level.
Per ESPN.com, a congressional committee is taking a close look at federal gambling laws, with a special emphasis on reviewing a 24-year old prohibition on sports betting.
Congress’ look into updating federal gambling laws may have a long reach, too, with daily fantasy sports and other gambling avenues set to be explored.
Current Laws Obsolete
United State Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. noted in a statement to ESPN that current federal gambling laws are “obsolete” and require a “desperate” need of updating.
A clear picture of when and how current federal gambling laws will be explored hasn’t been made, but Pallone pointed out the massive confusion across the 50 states, where states don’t see eye to eye on numerous forms of gambling – whether it be online or offline – and gambling laws, both state and federal, appear to be reluctant to truly pick a side.
The solution? To hopefully get everyone on the same page and make sure gambling companies are being accounted for and players are gambling safely and fairly:
“The laws need a wholesale review to see how they can actually work together and create a fairer playing field for all types of gambling, both online and offline, including sports betting and daily fantasy sports”.
Huge Market to Tap
Despite a lot of sports betting and gambling technically being illegal or at least existing in a grey area from a legal perspective, the people of the United States haven’t shied away from their betting.
Daily fantasy sports has been a massive driving force for a major regulation and legalization overhaul over the past year, both to protect the player and to hold the giant DFS corporations like DraftKings and FanDuel accountable.
Legalization has also been key, as some states have taken vocal stands against the daily fantasy sports industry, and even marked it as illegal. There have been positive strides, however, with New York granting the top DFS sites access to state players this summer and numerous states laying down laws that regulate and legalize daily fantasy sports. Many other states remain in constant talks to pick a side, either way.
The DFS boon naturally has sparked more talk about gambling in general, but that industry is merely center stage at the moment. The reality is Americans love gambling on sports in general, with the American Gaming Association reporting $149 billion is gambling on sports, one way or another.
Lawmakers potentially ruling in favor of regulated sports gambling aren’t alone, either. The NBA gas actively promoted the idea of legalized sports betting, as they see the perk of having fans more engaged with their product.
The NFL doesn’t agree, as commisioner Roger Goodell has been loud and open about the league’s disinterest in having fans actively betting on the games.
With any betting, there is the natural fear of corruption, but the correct approach to any news laws would naturally take measured steps to ensure regulation and that all sides are accounted for.
Not Just Sports Betting
People love to bet and gamble. It’s not just daily fantasy sports or sports betting, either. Online poker fans have been demanding the legalization of online poker for years, while online casinos and other forms of gambling remain in limbo, as well.
Most that argue for cleaner federal gambling laws have a point, too. Online poker arguably takes more skill and knowledge than most daily fantasy sports or sports betting does, while almost all forms of gambling could argue there is a layered, varied set of skills that can separate the elite players from the casual.
What’s the Problem?
The simple truth here is that all gambling is supposed to be looked at as a leisure activity. It’s fun, it can be exciting and if you put in the time and work, you can win a lot of money.
The “it’s not moral” narrative falls on deaf ears, since you could use that tired argument against anything. People drink alcohol, but that doesn’t make them an alcoholic. People play the state lottery, go to casinos, play scratch off tickets and do raffles, yet that doesn’t make them gambling addicts.
Like anything, any form of gambling should be done in moderation. If you can make a living doing it – great – but betting or playing too much obviously isn’t advised. Perhaps some type of regulation can help protect players (in fact, DFS sites have actually taken steps to do this already with “controlled gaming”).
The point is, gambling in general is a leisure activity and entertainment. Like anything else, it can be abused and corrupted, but that shouldn’t make it illegal or so unavailable to the point where the masses that don’t abuse it or their right to take part in it no longer can enjoy it.
There are two big issues at hand: people automatically thinking gambling of any kind is a problem from the very beginning, and those instances when their initial fear ends up being right.
Gambling at its core does not have to be a bad thing. It’s no different than scrolling through Pinterest for hours, Tweeting your life away or sucking your brain into Candy Crush. It’s entertainment, it passes the time, it plugs you into games and events and it’s fun. Winning money on top of the general enjoyment is an added plus, but most people would agree that the thrill of sports betting and any gambling is the actual ability to play the game itself.
Good and Bad
Where you stand on the idea of legalized gambling is one thing. What is clear, however, is the federal government is beginning to work their way to taking a clearer stance, one way or another.
For DFS fans, poker fans and enthusiastic gamblers in general, this is potentially long awaited amazing news. If the federal government can clean up the laws, regulate gambling better and make it so states don’t feel so hard-pressed to fight back, we could be looking at a bright future in the gambling industry where we all can bet/play freely.
That, or Congress taking a deeper look at changing and updating all of our gambling laws could be the beginning of the end.
We won’t know for a while. All we know for the moment is that Congress touched on the current laws this past summer and seems very interested in digging deeper. That could mean a total gambling shutdown at some point, or it could mean we’re finally free to conduct our sports betting and gambling as we please.
Regardless of the path we end up on, the current trajectory feels promising. We have the NBA advocating betting on basketball and there are countless high level supporters of an increasingly officially legalized daily fantasy sports industry.
Sports betting fans and online gamers have been held in check for years, waiting for a glimmer of hope that they might be able to do what they enjoy without fears of being prosecuted, being judged or not getting their money. Hopefully in time, given this recent news, that won’t be an issue.
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