Casino Industry Launches Effort To Regulate Sports Betting
On Monday, the casino industry introduced a new coalition that will follow in New Jersey’s footsteps by launching a campaign to repeal the federal sports betting ban.
The American Sports Betting Coalition
The American Gaming Association (AGA) announced that the American Sports Betting Coalition (ASBC) will urge Congress to lift the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 – a federal law that prohibits wagering on sports in all but four states. The ultimate goal is for state governments to be able to decide on if and how they will regulate sports betting.
"We are partnering with local and state elected officials, law enforcement and other diverse interests to tell Washington to get out of the way," stated Geoff Freeman, President of the American Gaming Association. "Regulated sports betting is what fans want and sports integrity demands."
Some of the organizations involved in the coalition include the National District Attorneys Association, Fraternal Order of the Police, Major County Sheriffs Association, National Conference of State Legislatures, and U.S. Conference of Mayors.
The ASBC will start by reaching out to those open to learning more about how a widespread regulated sports betting industry would operate. The group has already spoken with the players’ unions and top executives of popular sports leagues such as the NFL, NBA, NHL, and MLB. George Atallah, spokesman for the NFL Players Association, stated that executive directors have had conversations centered on how to best protect the integrity of the games.
The Case For Legalized Sports Betting
The formation of the coalition comes in the midst of New Jersey’s ongoing battle in bringing legalized sports betting to their state. N.J. Governor Chris Christie and Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. (D-6th Dist.) have made several unsuccessful attempts in introducing legislation that would allow casinos and racetracks in the Garden State to permit patrons to wager on sports. The latest sports betting law was denied by the Third District Court of Appeals in August, and the state is currently waiting on the Supreme Court to decide if a final appeal will be heard.
According to Freeman, the timing could not be better for the American Sports Betting Coalition campaign to begin.
"The American Gaming Association believes a perfect storm is aligning and now is the time to repeal a failing law.”
The AGA is the largest lobbying group for the casino industry, and the Association has spent millions of dollars conducting research into the sports betting industry. A survey by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner (GQR) found the following facts:
- 55% of Americans believe the federal sports betting ban should be lifted.
- An estimated $14.5 bil was bet illegally on Super Bowl LI and March Madness this year.
- 57% of Americans think regulated sports betting would protect consumers.
- 45% of non-sports fans believe states should be able to decide on legalization.
- 2 in 3 Americans think regulated sports betting would improve tax revenues and stimulate job growth.
An estimated $15 billion was bet on March Madness and Super Bowl LI this year – 97% of which was done illegally. Freeman believes that a regulated sports betting environment would raise $5.3 bil in taxes, create over 150,000 new jobs, and bring over $25 bil to the United States.
An Optimistic Outlook
Though there has been strong opposition by the NCAA and four major professional sports leagues – the National Football League, Major League Baseball, National Basketball Association and National Hockey League – the coalition remains hopeful.
The NFL announced in March that the Oakland Raiders will be moving to Las Vegas by 2020, and the NHL recently founded the Vegas Golden Knights who will begin playing in the 2017 – 2018 season.
Freeman also believes that the sports betting systems of today are superior to those that were in place during the enactment of PASPA. Advanced technology prevents bettors from cheating the system and interfering with the chief concern of leagues – the integrity of the game.
“They are tracking ... how much is being bet, who is betting it, where the bet is taking place, what is the betting history of these individuals, what games are they betting on, who's playing in those games, who's coaching those games, who are the trainers in those games, who are the officials in those games,” said Freeman in a press release. “All of that input goes into these algorithms that they built so that it is very easy for them to identify when there is an anomaly."
Even 'The Donald' has expressed that he has no qualms with sports betting at legal betting sites, and the AGA hopes that the administration will eventually back the PASPA repeal efforts.
"I'm OK with it because it's happening anyway," stated Trump in an interview with Fox Sports. "Whether you have it or you don't have it, you have it."
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