Last Thursday, the US House Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigation held the Post-PASPA: An Examination of Sports Betting in America hearing which was meant to ascertain whether there is the need for federal sports betting oversight since the existing regulations only require the oversight of individual states.
The hearing which is the very first of its kind since the US Supreme Court lifted the federal ban on sports betting, a move that gave the states the go-ahead to offer legal and regulated sports betting. Some of the attendees included:
- Jocelyn Moore, Executive Vice President, Communications and Public Affairs of the NFL
- Les Bernal, National Director of Stop Predatory Gambling
- Sara Slane, Senior Vice President of Public Affairs of the American Gaming Association
- Jon Bruning, Counselor for Coalition to Stop Online Gambling
- Becky Harris, Chair of the Nevada Gaming Control Board
As expected from most hearings involving lawmakers, the hearing turned out to be a fiasco especially because the lawmakers who were members of the committee were not well-informed about the sports betting industry or the gambling industry as a whole.
The NFL’s testimony, which was given by Jocelyn Moore, was one of the biggest highlights of the hearing particularly because it largely comprised of things that most of us have probably heard before. The league’s biggest concerns, as it turns out, was the integrity of the game and age restrictions, both of which are already being handled in one way or the other by the governments in the state where sports betting has been legalized.
While the awful Internet Gambling Act (2006) and the Wire Act (1961) were not very significant to the proceeding despite the fact the internet and mobile are important in sports betting regulation, the NFL and the Coalition to Stop Online Gambling made sure that everything revolved that topic.
Fortunately, the AGA’s Sara Slane stepped in to give the other side of the story saying:
“States and tribes have proven to be effective gaming regulators in the 26 years since Congress enacted PASPA. As Congress has refrained from regulating lotteries, slot machines, table games, and other gambling products, it should similarly refrain from engaging on sports wagering barring an identifiable problem that warrants federal attention.”
What Is Next?
Even though there is a consensus that a section of the members of the committee left thinking that there was something that had to be done at the federal level in as far as sports betting is concerned, the Thursday hearing was a purely informational one and there is no plan to create a federal framework for sports betting.
Moreover, there are currently no more meetings being planned so the NFL’s bet would probably be to follow in the footsteps of the NHL and NBA that are already inking partnership deals with sports betting and casino operators.