Orrin Hatch Still Pushing a Federal Sports Betting Framework
Just weeks before Orrin Hatch retires after seven terms in the United State Senate, his office has begun passing around a proposal to develop a federal framework for sports betting. This has been part of Hatch’s plan since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the federal ban on sports gambling in May.
The Utah Republican made a speech the night before the college football regular season began, promising to come up with a legislative proposal that would start talks about the federal oversight of sports betting.
Hatch, a Senator from Utah, is the longest-serving Senate Republican in the history of the U.S. He was a major proponent of PASPA in 1992 and since it was overturned in May, has been talking about how there is a need for federal regulations on sports betting. He retires at the end of December.
Hatch’s Draft Proposal
The 37-page proposal outlines the responsibility that the federal government has in both recognizing individual states’ rights surrounding sports betting while maintaining the integrity of both amateur and professional sports.
The proposal demands that a National Sports Wagering Clearinghouse be established that would operate as the U.S.’s official resource center for sports betting integrity.
The NSWC would collect sports betting data in real-time that would show the date and time when bets were accepted, the amount and type of bets placed, where the bets were placed, and what the outcome was for the wager.
The ultimate goal of the clearinghouse would be to watch for any signs of corruption via looking at unusual betting patterns.
States would have to apply to the U.S. attorney general for approval when creating new sports gambling regulations and laws. Sportsbook operators would have to use official league data until at least 2023. The proposal would also create a way for authorities to target unlicensed bookies both within the U.S. and offshore.
The legislation will also address problem gambling and sports betting advertising. It will amend two federal statutes as well: the Wire Act of 1961, to allow sportsbooks to use compacts to lay off bets to other states; and to strengthen the Sports Bribery Act of 1964 by adding wagers based on non-public information, extortion, and briber as violations.
Legal Sports Betting in the U.S.
This is the first federal sports betting legislation to appear since the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (PASPA) was overturned in May. PASPA essentially banned state-sponsored sports gambling to Nevada, and was found by the Supreme Court to be unconstitutional. This decision allowed all the states to set up their own regulated sportsbook industries.
Since that decision, New Jersey, Delaware, Mississippi, Pennsylvania, New Mexico, West Virginia, and Rhode Island have opened legal sportsbooks. At least another 20 states are looking at introducing legislation to allow for the activity in the future.
Opinions on Federal Oversight
The American Gaming Association is against federal oversight on sports betting. In a statement to ESPN, Chris Cylke, the VP of government regulations for the AGA, shared the organization’s opposing views:
“Since the Supreme Court’s ruling in May, the American Gaming Association has consistently maintained that federal legislation regarding sports betting is not necessary. That underlying position remains unchanged. At the same time, we remain committed to maintaining an open and constructive dialogue with policymakers considering sports betting legislation at any level of government.”
Other Bills Supporting Federal Oversight
Chuck Schumer, the Democratic Senator from New York, put out his own version of a federal sports betting framework during the summer. In September, the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security and Investigations had a hearing to look at sports gambling in the United States.
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