Congress Will Look Into Federal Sports Betting Guidelines
As an increasing number of states are opening regulated sportsbooks, Congress has decided to look into the necessity for federal sports gambling guidelines. A House Judiciary subcommittee today scheduled a hearing for September 27th, entitled “Post-PASPA: An Examination of Sports Betting in America. The hearing will be held in Washington, D.C.”
Legal Sports Betting in the U.S.
The Congressional Subcommittee will be looking into what’s been going on in the United States with regards to legal sports betting since the Supreme Court overturned a federal ban on sports betting in May. The ban, called the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (PASPA), opened the opportunities for each state to create its own laws and regulations on sports betting.
Since PASPA was overturned, several states like Mississippi, Delaware, West Virginia, and New Jersey have opened full-scale sports betting venues. Rhode Island and Pennsylvania are both preparing to open their sportsbooks.
Over $152 million has been bet on sports games at NJ sportsbooks since the middle of June when the Borgata in Atlantic City and Monmouth Park race track started taking sports wagers.
The AGA says that around $150 billion per year is bet on sports in the U.S., with most of that being illegal betting through bookies and offshore sportsbooks. Senior VP of the American Gaming Association, Sara Slane, said on Thursday,
“Legal, regulated sports betting will enable increased transparency and enhance protections for consumers and bet and game integrity. We look forward to discussing the U.S. gaming industry’s core principles for legalized sports betting with the Judiciary Committee at next week’s hearing.”
However, the AGA sent a letter to Chuck Schumer saying that no federal legislation is required. The AGA’s position is that
“states and sovereign tribal nations – not the federal government – are best positioned to regulate and oversee legal sports betting markets.”
The AGA plans on testifying at this public hearing next week.
Last month, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-New York) came out with sports betting guidelines, which has the support of some of the pro sports leagues. Schumer represents New York, where all major professional sports leagues are headquartered.
Major League Baseball, the PGA Tour, and the NBA said in a joint statement,
“As legalized sports betting spreads across the states, there is a need for consistent, nation-wide integrity standards to safeguard the sports millions of fans love. We strongly support the legislative framework outlined by Senator Schumer and we encourage Congress to adopt it.”
Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), one of the original co-authors of PASPA, said late last month that he was going to be introducing sports betting legislation within weeks, but now that he’s currently embroiled with the Kavanaugh controversy, no new bill has been developed. Hatch is strongly opposed to gaming.
The same House Judiciary subcommittee had a hearing scheduled for late June, but it was cancelled the morning after the announcement because of the uproar over the separation of children from immigrant families.
The Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security and Investigation is a subcommittee within the House Judiciary Committee and has jurisdiction over drug enforcement, Federal Criminal Code, sentencing, internal and homeland security, parole and pardons, prisons, Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, criminal law enforcement, and other matters as referred by the Chairman.
The subcommittee has nine Republican members and seven Democrat members as well as two ex officio members, one each of Republican and Democrat.
According to an article on ESPN, subcommittee chairman Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.),
“My subcommittee will look at the implications of this SCOTUS ruling and talk about what it means for the integrity of sports as well as what sorts of improper or illicit activities could arise. Ultimately, we want to determine whether or not a basic framework is necessary to guide states’ new gambling policies.”
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