NBA Calls for Federal Sports Betting Regulations After Jontay Porter Scandal

Posted on: June 7, 2024, 10:32h. 

Last updated on: June 7, 2024, 10:51h.

The NBA wants a nationwide federal regulatory framework for sports betting to replace oversight by individual state agencies.

NBC, Mark Tatum, sports betting, Jontay Porter, regulation
The NBC’s Mark Tatum, above, said this week that regulated sports betting creates transparency, which safeguards sporting integrity. (Image: Getty)

The league’s Deputy Commissioner and COO Mark Tatum made the comments in a video call to reporters this week in response to developments in the Jontay Porter betting scandal.

Porter, a power forward for the Toronto Raptors, was banned from the NBA for life in April after he was found to have shared insider information and manipulated games for a betting syndicate.

On Thursday, federal prosecutors said three men have now been charged with fraud after making more than $1 million betting on Porter’s performance in two games earlier this year.

Greater Transparency

Tatum praised the state-by-state regulation of sports betting, which he said enabled the scheme to be uncovered, while implying that a uniform federal system might be even more robust and effective.

The fact that we were able to look at certain irregularities in betting lines, and the data that we were able to receive from our partners allowed this to come into the light,” Tatum said. “We’ve always been, again, an advocate for a federal regulatory framework here.”

“I think it creates transparency that we didn’t have previously, which allows us to maintain the integrity of the sport, which is essential to all sports leagues,” he added.

PASPA’s Downfall

State-by-state regulation came about after the US Supreme Court rejected the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA), which was essentially a federal prohibition.

Under PASPA, states were prevented from licensing and regulating sports betting. The exceptions were Nevada, Oregon, Delaware, and Montana, which had already passed laws related to sports wagering before PASPA’s enactment.

In May 2018, the US Supreme Court found that PASPA was unconstitutional because it commandeered power from the states in violation of the 10th Amendment.

Little Appetite

In the wake of PASPA’s demise, there were short-lived efforts to establish federal regulation, but there was little appetite in Congress to do so. The concern was that such efforts would give rise to the same commandeering problem that PASPA created.

Proponents of state regulation tend to argue that federal regulation of sports betting is unnecessary because the states do a perfectly good job.

Critics say it creates a confusing patchwork of laws, and uniformity is needed to create a minimum standard. Some believe certain states were too quick to launch their sports betting markets because they wanted to reap the proceeds as soon as possible.

The NBA and other leagues may be more inclined to back federal regulation because it could be an opportunity to mandate the use of paid-for official league data by operators across the country.