Gambling blog

Federal Control of Sports Betting in US?

Seven months after the US Supreme Court lifted the federal on sports betting in the US, legislation is underway that would give the federal government oversight over the sports-betting industry.

Though he is set to retire after 42 years of serving as a Utah Senator, Orin Hatch (R) has filed a draft discussion about the possibility of using the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) to serve as the nation’s regulatory body to oversee sports betting gambling regulations. It’s noteworthy that a good part of Hatch’s filing focuses on issues like problem gambling, Internet sports betting and the possibility of restricting advertising practices that prey on vulnerable gamblers, especially illegal teen gamblers. Possible legislation would likely address issues like corruption, illegal sports betting activities and the control over game-fixing by rogue elements. On closer review, it would appear that any possible federal legislation would look similar to what the UK Gambling Commission sets forth as its guidelines to regulate online gambling providers.

While the draft indicates the states would still maintain responsibility for legislating sports betting activities within each respective state, state legislatures would be required to get prior approval from the US Attorney General’s office prior to implementing new laws.

At this point in time, there are eight states that have already passed legislation to legalize sports betting. Those states include Delaware, Mississippi, New Jersey, Nevada, Pennsylvania, Montana, Oregon and West Virginia. It’s also rumored that as many as 20 other states already have legislation going through the legislative process. It’s widely anticipated that eventually every state is going to allow some form of sports gambling. The only possible exclusion might come from one or two of the nation’s more conservative states.  However, the ability to boost state tax revenues is proving to be a very strong incentive for everyone to join in the fray. In 2017, it was reported that Americans wagered up to $150 billion on sports events, illegally and otherwise.

According to an article at ESPN.com, this kind of legislation could eventually lead to the establishment of a National Sports Wagering Clearinghouse. Such an agency would likely be charged with collecting real-time game-play data for the purpose of looking into the possibility of corruption in sports.

At the state level, there is growing sentiment that the states don’t need federal oversight. Each state is already required to establish its own regulatory body to handle many of the tasks mention in Hatch’s draft.

According to Government Relations Vice-President, Chris Cylke, “Since the [United States] 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.”

Over the coming months, it is clear US regulators are going to have their hands fool getting a grip on sports-betting activities. Everything is moving at a rapid pace as each state contemplates how it is going to get its cut of the $150 billion pie.

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Sandy Platini

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