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The American Gaming Association released a memo it sent to the transition team of President-elect Donald Trump, outlining the casino industry’s priorities for 2017 and beyond. Among them is the legalization of sports betting.
“We look forward to working with the Trump administration and the incoming Congress on a range of critical issues, from sports betting and illegal gambling to tax reform and immigration,” said Geoff Freeman, AGA president and CEO. “The gaming industry has never been more united and better positioned to advocate for policies that promote growth and reinvestment.”
The AGA started its memo alluding to Trump’s past in Atlantic City: “As a former casino owner, President-elect Trump understands many of the issues facing the industry.”
It continues to give Trump and his team a brief overview of the current status of the casino industry, which has expanded well beyond Nevada and New Jersey. Then the AGA dives into its priorities on the policy front. Sports betting — which has been the AGA’s signature issue in the past year — is listed high in the memo.
Here’s the excerpt on sports betting:
The United States’ approach to sports betting lags behind Europe and other countries that effectively regulate a legal market. Today, at least $150 billion a year is wagered illegally on sports betting in the United States, and a report released this fall concluded that, “[r]ather than setting the standard, the United States is on par with Russia and China, having forced a groundswell of black-market gambling by prohibiting the popular pastime of sports betting.”
The casino gaming industry is building a broad coalition in support of repealing the nearly 25-year-old federal prohibition and giving states the opportunity to offer sports betting if they so choose. This position is shared by the National Basketball Association, owners across the four major sports leagues, the U.S. Conference of Mayors, National Council of State Legislatures and many others. We are pleased that President-elect Trump appears to agree with this approach.
The AGA is hopeful that Trump, which used to be in the casino industry, will consider the issue of sports betting when he takes office. However, there are obviously myriad issues that will confront the incoming president, and it’s not at all clear that any gaming issue will be near the top of his priority list.
The full memo can be seen here.
The AGA is already planning on a lobbying effort in Congress starting next year. How much traction that effort will get is unknown, but the AGA is hopeful it will pan out with states being able to allow sports betting within the next three years.
Right now the focus is on the New Jersey sports betting court case. The state is appealing the case to the US Supreme Court. The major professional sports leagues in the US remain opposed to the legalization of sports betting in New Jersey.