Report: Congress Might Hold Sports Betting Hearing In June

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Congress sports betting hearing

Federal intervention in legal sports betting may still be a long way off, but it appears Congress might discuss the matter as soon as this month:

The news was first reported by ESPN’s David Purdum:

The hearing would follow comments made by Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) on potential federal legislation to replace PASPA. The Supreme Court struck down PASPA in May but left open the possibility of Congress creating new sports betting law.

Where the sports betting hearing might take place

Nothing related to sports betting yet appears on any Congressional hearing calendar. Some speculation focuses on the House Judiciary Committee and its subcommittees, chaired by Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Virginia), but Legal Sports Report has not confirmed the date or landing spot for the hearing.

If the hearing does take place in the House, it is not clear if it will relate to whatever Hatch could be planning in the Senate.

Here’s what Goodlatte said after the SCOTUS decision, per The Hill:

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) in a statement said he’s “deeply concerned about the social ills that can arise from gambling.”

“At the same time, I have deep respect for the federalism principles that underlie today’s Supreme Court decision,” he said.

Federal sports betting law remains unlikely in the short term

The general inability to pass legislation in the current Congress provides caution on the prospects of federal sports betting law. And, as of now, there is neither actual nor draft legislation available.

While the NFL, NBA, and NHL publicly support it, many powerful gaming interests including the American Gaming Association stand opposed.

Outgoing AGA President Geoff Freeman said following PASPA’s repeal “that ship has sailed” on federal law. The AGA among others advocates for states to be allowed to make their own sports betting laws.

The hearing also could look similar to what happened around daily fantasy sports in Congress two years ago. At that time, a hearing took place but did not lead to any federal action.