Group that wants to end sports betting ban grows again
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Push For Legal Sports Betting Adds National Indian Gaming Association To Coalition

Add to sports betting coalition
A national group for tribal gaming has joined the American Sports Betting Coalition in its push to repeal the federal ban on sports wagering.

NIGA is the latest on sports betting push

The ASBC announced on Monday that the National Indian Gaming Association is now a part of its group. NIGA represents 184 gaming tribes.

The ASBC is the brainchild of the American Gaming Association. It represents law enforcement officials, states rights’ advocates, policymakers and the gaming industry.

The aim of the coalition is to repeal or amend the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA). That’s the federal law that prevents single-game wagering outside of the Nevada sports betting industry.

Leaders talk NIGA’s sports betting presence

“We are pleased to announce that the National Indian Gaming Association will be joining the AGA’s Coalition on Sports Betting, which will enable us to coordinate with and provide feedback to the AGA with regard to tribal gaming concerns as the coalition advances its policy objectives,” said Ernie Stevens Jr., chairman of NIGA. “Of chief concern to NIGA is to ensure that tribal interests are protected, particularly avoidance of any negative impacts on existing compacts and exclusivity clauses.

“As one of the key stakeholders in these discussions we want to ensure that if legalized, our members have the opportunity to offer this activity as part of their overall entertainment package and as an additional source of revenue for tribal government gaming to promote tribal economic development, tribal self-sufficiency and strong tribal government.”

“We have a window of opportunity to get this done and the National Indian Gaming Association is critical to making it happen,” said Geoff Freeman, president and CEO of the AGA. “Tribal engagement will help to move the needle forward and as the industry further unites, we will be able to end the failing ban on sports betting and allow our industry to grow.”

What to read into tribes’ presence in coalition

The willingness of tribes to engage in the push for sports betting in the US is a positive development. But the tribes are likely going to stop short of:

  1. Support of a full federal framework to oversee sports betting regulation.
  2. Supporting blanket legalization of sports gambling in all 50 states. The situation on the ground — and tribal compacts for gaming — vary in each state. Sometimes it can vary with each tribe.

The latter item will crop up in any state that wants to legalize sports betting but already has tribal gaming.

States are moving ahead, so tribes want to be involved

The New Jersey sports betting case in the US Supreme Court looms as a way for states to start legalizing wagering on games in the near future.

A number of states have already started to act or consider sports betting regulation:

And that’s just some of the states that have introduced sports betting legislation. Being a part of the conversation in a material way is a proactive move for tribes.

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Dustin Gouker
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Dustin Gouker has been a sports journalist for more than 15 years, working as a reporter, editor and designer — including stops at The Washington Post and the D.C. Examiner.