AGA Says, We've Got This Chuck

AGA To Schumer On Sports Betting: We’re Good Here Without You

Sports betting regulation

The American Gaming Association sent a letter this week to Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) with strong criticism that a federal framework like that which he proposed is unnecessary for sports betting regulation.

“The AGA has long been a leading a leading advocate for eliminating the vast illegal sports betting market in the U.S., which was largely enabled by the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA),” wrote Sara Slane, senior vice president of public affairs for the AGA.

“We believe this can best be achieved through law enforcement oversight and robust state regulation. The AGA firmly believes that additional federal engagement is not warranted at this time.”

What the AGA proposes for sports betting

Legalized sports betting across the country is still in its infancy. In the AGA’s six-page letter, it laid out in extensive detail five “principles that will ensure a safe, successful, legal sports betting market.”

  • Promote responsible gaming and responsible advertising
  • Protect game integrity
  • Discourage enacting legislative preferences for specific business interest
  • Empower state and tribal regulation
  • Place consumers first

While federal lawmakers and sports betting advocates differ on how sports betting regulation, their common ground is the elimination of the illegal black market. They diverge significantly on the best ways to accomplish that.

“As policy discussions on sports betting progress, AGA is unwavering in our commitment to continuing a constructive dialogue with all stakeholders and we stand ready to serve as a resource for anyone considering statutory or regulatory policies to govern sports betting,” Slane wrote.

Hatch and Schumer make for unlikely allies

Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), one of the original architects of PASPA, said immediately following the law’s demise in May that he would submit legislation to replace it. Hatch later delivered a speech on the Senate floor in August reiterating his call for federal oversight of sports betting.

Five days later, Schumer came forward with a federal framework that would:

  • Require bookmakers to use official league data
  • Give leagues some control over what bets casinos can offer
  • Require casinos share anonymously betting trend info

“With the Supreme Court 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.

Hours after Schumer released his proposal, the NBA, MLB and PGA Tour collectively issued this statement:

“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.”

State-level regulation already underway

It would require quite the push in Washington, D.C. to pass some sort of federal sports betting regulation, considering a number of states already passed and implemented legislation to allow for legal sports betting outside of Nevada.

Delaware, New Jersey, Mississippi and West Virginia began legal sports betting this year. Rhode Island and Pennsylvania anticipate sports betting to start later this fall.

“The AGA strongly believes no additional federal engagement is needed at this time based on the significant, effective regulatory oversight already in place,” Slane said. “Replacing an already proven regulatory regime with a non-existent and untested federal oversight apparatus would be out of step with 7 in 10 Americans who think this decision should be left to each state and tribe.”

Sources on Capitol Hill anticipate a sports betting hearing later this month to discuss sports betting policy but it is unconfirmed at this time.

Nicholaus Garcia
- Nick comes from West Texas where he graduated from Texas Tech University with a degree in psychology. After a five-year stint in Chicago, where he wrote about local politics and graduated with a master’s degree in journalism from Columbia College Chicago, he moved to Washington, D.C. to write about issues related to gambling policy, sports betting and responsible gaming.