The U.S Conference of Mayors adopted a resolution this week calling for the legalization and regulation of sports betting in the United States.
The announcement came against the backdrop of the American Gaming Association holding a symposium in Washington, D.C., at which the subject of sports betting regulation was addressed in a panel.
What the mayors said on sports betting
The United States Conference of Mayors held its 84th annual meeting this week in Indianapolis. The USCM is the “official non-partisan organization of cities with populations of 30,000 or more,” of which there are more than one thousand in the country.
Here is what the Conference resolved, in part:
The United States Conference of Mayors and the nation’s Mayors, believe it’s time for a new approach to sports betting in the United States that could include strict regulation, rigorous consumer protections, taxation of revenues to benefit local communities, and robust tools and resources for law enforcement to root out illegal sports betting and uphold the integrity of games.
The group also pledged to work with the AGA on the sports betting issue.
In order to pass a resolution, a majority of mayors in attendance has to approve the resolution. More than 200 mayors attended the conference.
What’s the resolution mean?
The addition of the USCM is a welcome one for the AGA, which adds a governmental organization to its push to repeal the federal ban on sports betting, PASPA.
Such a resolution doesn’t have the force of law in any jurisdiction, but it gives the AGA an ally in its lobbying efforts.
The AGA advocacy effort to legalize sports betting has ramped up in a major way in recent months.
The full USCM Resolution
Here is what the Conference wrote on the subject of sports betting:
Addressing Illegal Sports Betting Through Regulation
WHEREAS, the legal, regulated casino industry contributes $240 billion to the U.S. economy, supports 1.7 million jobs in 40 states, and contributes $38 billion in tax revenue; and
WHEREAS, federal law prohibiting sports betting has failed; and the American Gaming Association estimates that in 2015 alone, Americans placed nearly $149 billion in illegal sports bets, and
WHEREAS,an estimated $4.2 billion was bet on Super Bowl 50 with 97% bet illegally; and
WHEREAS, American adults placed an estimated $93 million in illegal bets on NFL and college football this past season; and
WHEREAS, this massive illegal gambling market lacks adequate rules, siphons tax revenues from local communities, lacks consumer protections, and harms the integrity of the game; and
WHEREAS, large criminal enterprises utilize illegal sports betting to fund other criminal activities that harms public safety across cities; and
WHEREAS, these criminal activities drain resources for law enforcement; and
WHEREAS, sports betting has become an American past time; and
WHEREAS, 47 million adults who watched Super Bowl 50 bet on sports this year – nearly 3 times the number of people who attended all NFL games this season; and
WHEREAS, current law is out of step with public attitudes, as the vast majority of football fans – 65%- say legal, regulated betting will protect the integrity of the games or have no impact on outcomes; and
WHEREAS, 80% of Super Bowl viewers want to change current sports betting law; and
WHEREAS,66% of Super Bowl fans believe states should decide whether or not to legalize sports betting; and
WHEREAS, six in ten Super Bowl viewers believe transparent, regulated wagering will either strengthen the integrity of games or have no impact on game outcomes; and
WHEREAS, 72 percent of Super Bowl watchers believe state -regulated sports betting will make betting safer for consumers because it will be overseen by law enforcement; and
WHEREAS,68 percent say legal, regulated sports wagering will generate tax funds for needed local programs like education and public safety; and
WHEREAS, legal, regulated, and taxed sports wagering will provide potential funds for community development projects, jobs, and revenue for cities; and
WHEREAS,illegal sports wagering contributes to the “development” of large criminal enterprises,
NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that The United States Conference of Mayors and the nation’s Mayors, believe it’s time for a new approach to sports betting in the United States that could include strict regulation, rigorous consumer protections, taxation of revenues to benefit local communities, and robust tools and resources for law enforcement to root out illegal sports betting and uphold the integrity of games; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that The United States Conference of Mayors will work with the American Gaming Association (AGA) to lead a national discussion with other key stakeholders to study the potential benefits of a regulated market, to identify platforms to protect revenues of cities, and to ensure consumer safety, and AGA will designate an official slot for the U.S. Conference of Mayors as part of its national stakeholder advisory committee that will include law enforcement, consumers, and sports leagues.