American Gaming Association Pushes Back Against Federal Sports Betting Faction

Posted on: September 14, 2018, 09:00h. 

Last updated on: September 14, 2018, 07:53h.

The American Gaming Association (AGA) has urged Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-New York) to abandon his push for the federal regulation of sports betting.

Chuck Schumer
Senator Chuck Schumer believes federal government needs to take a “leadership role” on sports betting but the AGA says this is unnecessary since robust and effective state regulations are already in place. (Image: Vice News)

In a letter dated September 13, Senior VP of Public Affairs Sara Slane outlined the trade organization’s view that consumer protections and sports integrity are best served by “robust state regulation.”

In August, Schumer proposed a federal framework for sports betting, declaring in an accompanying statement that it was “incumbent on the federal government to take a leadership role and provide the necessary guidance to prevent uncertainty and confusion for the leagues, state governments, consumers and fans alike.”

Sports Leagues Support Federal Regs

Schumer has the support of Senator Orrin Hatch, who in 1992 was one of the authors of PASPA, the federal prohibition on state sanctioned sports betting that was rejected as unconstitutional by the US Supreme Court in May.

Hatch has said state regulation will allow sports betting to “proliferate amid uneven enforcement” and called it “a patchwork race to the regulatory bottom.”

Schumer also has the backing of the sports leagues who believe state regulation is likely to favor state gambling industries over their own interests.

Among several league-friendly proposals, Schumer’s framework would make it compulsory for sports books to use official league data and give the leagues control over what kind of bets can be offered at sports books. Schumer has stopped short of proposing actual legislation, but Hatch has promised he will introduce a federal sports betting bill to replace PASPA.

Common Ground

Slane acknowledges that her organization and Schumer have common goals — the elimination of the black-market sports betting — but differ wildly on how best to achieve that. She notes that sports betting regulation is already underway in several states and it is effective. Federal regulation is therefore unnecessary, she says.

“AGA strongly believes no additional federal engagement is needed at this time based on the significant, effective regulatory oversight already in place,” wrote Slane. “Across the country, more than 4,000 dedicated public servants effectively regulate the commercial and tribal casino industry, including sports wagering.”

“Replacing an already proven regulatory regime with a non-existent and untested federal oversight apparatus would be out of step with 7 in 10 Americans who think this decision should be left to each state and tribe.”