American Gaming Association Bids Goodbye to PASPA as Its ‘Rational Alternative’ Becomes Reality

Posted on: May 15, 2018, 04:00h. 

Last updated on: May 15, 2018, 04:33h.

The American Gaming Association (AGA), which has long supported New Jersey’s legal battle for the right to regulate sports betting, welcomed Monday’s Supreme Court decision to strike down PASPA as an unconstitutional violation of states’ rights.

AGA President Geoff Freeman Seeks Alternatives to US sports betting laws
Geoff Freeman and the AGA have long argued that the federal prohibition on sports betting drives and funds organized crime. On Monday a former federal prosecutor said the US Supreme Court decision to strike down PASPA will deny the Mob its “bread and butter.” (Image: CDC Gaming Reports)

AGA President and CEO Geoff Freeman said the decision was “a victory for the millions of Americans who seek to bet on sports in a safe and regulated manner,” citing a recent Washington Post survey that suggested 55 percent of Americans believe it’s time to end the federal ban on sports betting.

“Today’s ruling makes it possible for states and sovereign tribal nations to give Americans what they want: an open, transparent, and responsible market for sports betting,” said Freeman.

“Through smart, efficient regulation this new market will protect consumers, preserve the integrity of the games we love, empower law enforcement to fight illegal gambling, and generate new revenue for states, sporting bodies, broadcasters and many others.”

Rational Alternative

In late 2015, the AGA vowed to devote its resources to the pursuit of “a rational alternative” to the federal law that banned the state regulation of sports betting. It would also build a “broad coalition” that would explore an alternative paradigm through “robust research, aggressive communications and partnerships with a variety of voices with interest in sports betting.”

But the AGA could not have in its wildest dreams expected that PASPA would be repealed within two and a half years of this declaration.

At the time, New Jersey had just lost its appeal against a federal ruling that its Sports Wagering Act violated PASPA. The situation looked bleak and its only recourse was to appeal to the highest court in the land.

The AGA argued that prohibition funded organized crime, while criminalizing the actions of ordinary Americans. An AGA study that year found that, of 40 federal gambling convictions analyzed, a quarter of cases were directly linked to organized crime gangs.

In those ten case feds seized $3 million, much of which would be plowed back into other criminal enterprises, the AGA said.

‘Gambling Rackets Sleep with the Fishes’

On Monday, many were in agreement. The New York Post suggested the Supreme Court had “dealt a losing hand to organized crime in the New York area” and that the Mob’s gambling racket would “sleep with the fishes.”

It quoted former federal prosecutor Thomas Siegal, once the head of the Organized Crime and Gangs Section of the Brooklyn US Attorney’ s Office, who said illegal gambling, and the extortionate loan-sharking that invariably accompanies it, is the Mob’s “bread and butter” and that criminals would lose a “regular source of predictable income.”

Meanwhile, job done and moving forward, the AGA said it “stands ready to work with all stakeholders – states, tribes, sports leagues, and law enforcement – to create a new regulatory environment that capitalizes on this opportunity to engage fans and boost local economies.”