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Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) slightly advanced the ball Wednesday on a federal sports betting framework, but stopped short of proposing legislation.
Schumer offered a federal sports betting framework that would, in part, require bookmakers to purchase official league data and give leagues control over what wagers are offered. The framework also includes a requirement for casinos to share anonymously betting trend information with leagues and government bodies.
The league-friendly provisions from Schumer are not surprising, as the four major pro sports leagues are headquartered in New York. Equally unsurprising was the joint statement from the NBA, MLB, and PGA Tour that came out just hours after Schumer released his proposal:
“As legalized sports betting spreads across the states, there is a need for consistent, nationwide integrity standards to safeguard the sports millions of fans love. We strongly support the legislative framework outlined by Senator Schumer and we encourage Congress to adopt it.”
Schumer’s proposal comes on the heels of Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) last week renewing his call for federal legislation to replace PASPA. Hatch co-authored the previous federal sports betting ban that ended in May when the Supreme Court ruled it unconstitutional.
“With the Supreme Court’s ruling, it’s incumbent on the federal government to take a leadership role and provide the necessary guidance to prevent uncertainty and confusion for the leagues, state governments, consumers and fans alike,” Schumer said in a statement.
The American Gaming Association advocated before and after the Supreme Court ruling for states to be allowed to craft their own legislation. AGA senior vice president of public affairs Sara Slane made a statement soon after Schumer’s release:
“The casino gaming industry shares Senator Schumer’s goal in preserving the integrity of sporting events and providing consumer protections. Federal oversight of sports betting was an abject failure for 26 years only contributing to a thriving illegal market with no consumer protections and safeguards. New federal mandates are a nonstarter.
“The casino industry is working with stakeholders to ensure the proper protections for consumers, and the integrity of bets and sporting contests are included in state policy, universally implemented by all operators in those states, and overseen by effective state and tribal gaming regulators.”
Schumer’s statement left plenty of room for interpretation. It did not include actual legislation that he intends to put forward and encouraged states to include its principles.
“As state legislatures develop new legislation in the weeks and months ahead, I hope they will take these principles under consideration,” Schumer said.
Schumer did express support for federal efforts to pass a sports betting framework. Hatch again promised forthcoming legislation last week, just as he did in the wake of PASPA’s repeal. The retiring senator has not yet produced a bill and Congress is nearing the end of its legislative year, with little time before the midterm election and ensuring lame-duck session.
Legal sports betting now operates in Nevada, New Jersey, Delaware, and Mississippi. It will start Saturday in West Virginia, and by fall in Rhode Island and Pennsylvania. As more states move to legalize sports betting, trying to apply federal guidelines to their disparate laws could prove at best challenging and at worst impossible.
Press contacts for Schumer and Hatch did not respond to requests for additional comment.