Congressional Hearing on Sports Betting Postponed
The House Judiciary Committee announced on Wednesday that a congressional hearing regarding sports betting in the United States initially scheduled to take place on Tuesday, June 26, has been postponed.
The hearing, previously titled, “Post-PASPA, An Examination of Sports Betting in America,” was initially put on the congressional calendar on June 19 before being quickly postponed. No new date for the hearing has been announced.
The hearing was to take place in the Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security and Investigations, and it had invited potential witnesses to testify. The National Football League was among those invited to participate.
According to ESPN, the hearing has been postponed because of a “scheduling complication in unrelated policy areas.”
Last month, the U.S. Supreme Court announced that it would strike down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA), which would clear the way for individual states to legalize and regulate sports gambling. Delaware and New Jersey have already started to accept sports bets, with several more states expected to follow in their footsteps.
Under PASPA, Nevada was the only state in the union in which bettors could legally place wagers on sporting events. Now, Mississippi and West Virginia are largely expected to be the next couple of states to get in on the action. Both states are expected to begin accepting sports bets sometime over the summer.
The elimination of PASPA hasn’t come without its fair share of opposition. Both the Senate Judiciary Committee and the Senate Commerce Committee are currently in the process of evaluating the sports gambling issue in the United States.
Utah Republican Senator Orrin Hatch has said that he is in the process of working on legislation that would try to protect the integrity of sports in this country as we know them today. According to ESPN, Hatch is intending to strengthen the Sports Bribery Act, which is a still-standing federal law that was not impacted by the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down PASPA.
Hatch is apparently concerned that fixing games may become a real issue in this country as more and more states move to legalize and regulate gambling. Hatch also believes that bribery of players and referees may also be a potential side effect of the legalization of sports betting.
Hatch has declared the Supreme Court’s decision was “unconstitutional.” His opposition to the decision should come as no surprise, as the Utah Senator was actually one of the authors that helped put PASPA together nearly 25 years ago. Hatch said that the law was put into place in order to help keep sports protected from unsavory outside influences that gambling may present.
In a recent op-ed for Sports Illustrated, Hatch cited the fixing of the 1919 World Series, the Pete Rose scandal and the Boston College basketball point-shaving scandal as evidence that sports could be at risk of falling victim to corruption of gambling is legalized on a widespread scale.
A spokesperson for the Senate Judiciary Committee told ESPN last week that initial discussions regarding sports gambling have taken place, but there are currently no plans for any formal hearings on the matter.
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