Friday, April 22, 2016 : U.S. TRADE BODY THROWS ITS WEIGHT BEHIND SPORTS BETTING LEGALISATION
American Gaming Association in campaign to give federal lawmakers a more positive perspective.
There is some irony in the fact that after the state of New Jersey has battled unsuccessfully for the last three years to secure intrastate legalised sports betting, the American Gaming Association is now pushing hard for changes to federal law.
In terms of the federal Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act 1992 just four US states are permitted to offer betting on sports events – Nevada, Delaware, Montana, and Oregon…with only Nevada really offering a full range.
U.S. Reps. Frank LoBiondo and Frank Pallone Jr. introduced federal legalization earlier this year to widen a law that has denied individual states billions in tax revenues and resulted in hundreds of federal prosecutions, and the AGA is now lending its support to the effort with lobbying action and a campaign to better educate Capitol Hill politicians on the pros and cons of the issue.
Speaking in Washington this week, AGA chief executive Geoff Freeman said there was a better approach than PASPA, and revealed that an estimated that $9.2 billion was bet illegally on last month's National Collegiate Athletic Association's Division I basketball tournament, and $4.2 billion on the last Super Bowl.
"The law has failed. It's time to take a fresh look," he urged lawmakers, adding that illegal unregulated sports betting is often linked to criminal elements and constitutes a threat to the integrity of sports competitions across America.
And, he reminded them, the current situation also means that government and commerce is losing out on a very substantial revenue stream.
Freeman paraded a small squad of local and international experts to brief politicians on every aspect of regulation and licensing, but the address by New Jersey regulator David Rebuck stood out. With first hand experience of licensing, regulation and enforcement in his home state, Rebuck was well qualified to speak on the topic and ways in which wider legalization could be efficiently and safely handled.
He explained that following political approval of a New Jersey law allowing intrastate sports betting several years ago, the Garden State has been embroiled in a series of expensive court actions as national sports bodies fought to retain the PASPA.
In the meantime his regulatory organisation had drawn up detailed regulations on the vertical which it was unable to implement due to the persistent legal blocks.
The irony is that whilst his state's casino operators were more than competent to offer sports betting, only their Nevada branches could do so.
Expect more activity in this area – Freeman has indicated that the education program will if anything intensify.