NJ Congressman Introduces New Bill To Lift Sports Betting Ban, Update Gaming Laws

Written By Dustin Gouker on December 4, 2017 - Last Updated on January 10, 2022
Pallone sports betting

[toc]Congressman Frank Pallone Jr. (D-NJ) announced he was introducing a comprehensive gaming bill — called the Gaming Accountability and Modernization Enhancement Act, or GAME Act.

The legislation would allow states to legalize sports betting within their borders, among other provisions.

The bill was being introduced in Congress as the US Supreme Court heard a case — Christie vs. NCAA — about the constitutionality of a federal sports betting ban (PASPA).

The GAME Act, at a glance

The bill, at its core, is meant to let states legalize sports betting. That has been one of Pallone’s signature issues as his home state of New Jersey has battles in court to offer sports wagering.

What’s in the bill?

  • It repeals the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act. PASPA is the law that has been challenged in the New Jersey sports betting case in front of the Supreme Court.
  • It makes it clear that anyone that offers gaming legally under state law is not criminally or civilly liable under federal law, as long as the state law puts in place consumer protections related to the gaming.
  • The bill defines “bet or wager” to include participation in lotteries, sports betting, fantasy sports and fantasy esports.
  • The Federal Trade Commission becomes a clearinghouse for gaming entities to submit their consumer protections in place under states’ gaming laws.
  • Puts in place mechanisms for researching and addressing gambling addiction at the federal level.

Summary here, full bill here.

Pallone and sports betting

“Today’s argument before the Supreme Court showed there is a serious question as to whether PASPA violates the Constitution and whether New Jersey even violated PASPA in the first place,” Pallone said via a press release on Tuesday.

“It is clear to me that PASPA is unconstitutional. I am hopeful that the Supreme Court will decide in New Jersey’s favor, and the GAME Act provides the necessary legal framework for states to move forward.”

Pallone had floated a draft of his bill this spring.

Rep. Dina Titus of Nevada was the latest member of Congress to ask for hearings on sports wagering; read her letter here.

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Dustin Gouker

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.

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