Senator Chuck Schumer Joins Fellow Senator in Call for Federal Sports Betting Legislation
3 September 2018
PokerBrave (418 articles)
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Hot on the heels of the overturning of his previous legislation, Utah Senator Orrin Hatch vowed to bring new federal regulation regarding sports betting. Now he is being joined by fellow Senator and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer in these calls, with Schumer offering specific ideas as to the legislation.

“With the Supreme Court’s ruling, it’s 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,” Schumer said in a statement on the issue.

Naming the Specifics on Legislation

Schumer touches on some things that are “common sense” regulation – no players under 21, commercial targeting not aimed at youth or problem gamblers, etc. – but there are some things that he has come up with that could be problematic. One of the regulations suggested by Schumer states that sportsbooks would only be able to use “official league data” to determine the outcomes. This basically means that the professional and collegiate sports leagues would offer their “official” statistics to sportsbooks (presumably for a price) and those stats would be the determining factor in any bet. Not stopping there, Schumer also posited the idea that the leagues would be the ones that would determine what would be wagered on.

The problem with this situation is that the leagues could basically determine who they wanted to offer sports betting by controlling who has access to the “official” data. That “official” data is also quite questionable in that the results of sporting events are public knowledge – everyone knows who beat whom and by how much – thus making the monetization of “official” data a step simply to impact who can offer the betting.

The National Basketball Association (NBA), Major League Baseball (MLB) and the Professional Golf Association (PGA) initially have indicated their support for the proposals from Schumer, with the National Football League (NFL) and National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA) offering their support in a separate statement. In both cases, the professional and amateur sports agencies have stated that federal legislation is necessary to present “consistent, nationwide integrity and standards to safeguard the sports millions of fans love.”

Hatch, who was the creator of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) of 1992, had proposed legislation that would have to be rushed through before the end of the current Congress. Schumer’s proposals have not been codified as of yet either. There is, however, a bill in the House that has stalled on the sports betting issue.

Sports Betting Growing on State-by-State Level

Since PASPA was overturned by the U. S. Supreme Court in May, several states have stepped up and passed some form of sports betting legislation for their state. Of course, New Jersey was one of the first to offer sports betting as they were the originators of the lawsuit that resulted in the overturning of PASPA. But there have been other states that have wasted little time in activating their own sports betting industries.

Delaware was one of the first to offer sports betting, quickly followed by Mississippi in June. As a part of their own online gaming legislation, Pennsylvania has also stepped into the sports betting realm. West Virginia, looking to keep up with Pennsylvania, quickly pushed through sports betting regulations for their casinos. Finally, several states including Louisiana, California, South Carolina, Illinois, New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Michigan, Missouri and Iowa (among others) have legislation that could be passed this year that would open the doors for sports betting in their states.

Still Unlikely Legislation Will Get Through

Neither Schumer or Hatch have any current bill that would push through their legislative agenda, which would be necessary to go along with the current House legislation that is currently stalled (the House bill is called the Gaming Accountability and Modernization Enhancement Act, or the GAME Act, and its nomenclature is HR 4530). But time for committee discussion on issues is scarce over the next few months with the midterm elections and the “lame duck” session after the midterms. Accord to GovTrack, which follows legislation in the Congress, there is a 3% chance that the bill will be passed.