A Congressional hearing on the topic of sports betting planned for later this month will likely feature representatives from both the NFL and the American Gaming Association.
That’s according to a source familiar with the plans of a subcommittee in the House Judiciary Committee. A hearing is likely to take place on Sept. 27 in the Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigation. The hearing is not yet listed on the committee’s website.
The date of the potential hearing was first reported by ESPN’s David Purdum:
Per source, Thursday, Sept. 27 is being eyed as potential date for Congressional hearing on sports betting in Washington, D.C.
— David Payne Purdum (@DavidPurdum) September 10, 2018
Here we go on sports betting?
The hearing, if it does indeed take place, would be the first in Congress since the US Supreme Court struck down the federal wagering ban in May.
There has been a great deal of chatter about Congress’ interest in sports gambling, including:
- A planned hearing in the same subcommittee that was scheduled and then promptly canceled in June.
- A promise from Sen. Orrin Hatch that he would introduce federal legislation on the subject.
- A call from Sen. Chuck Schumer for federal oversight.
Despite Hatch’s initial overtures months ago, a federal bill has still not surfaced. In the interim, sports betting is now legal and operational in five states — New Jersey, Nevada, Delaware, West Virginia and Mississippi. Two others — Pennsylvania and Rhode Island — could be live before year’s end.
There is also an open date on Sept. 27 in the Senate Judiciary Committee’s schedule. But that committee is still dealing with the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court as the week begins.
It’s not clear that anything of substance will happen in the short term given the lack of progress on legislation so far and the fact that mid-term elections are around the corner.
So who is testifying in Congress?
While the plans of the subcommittee are not set in stone, it does appear that representatives from the NFL and the casino lobby are set to appear. The subcommittee also plans on bringing someone to testify related to Las Vegas Sands LLC, the international gaming company headed up Sheldon Adelson, according to the source familiar with plans for the hearing
Adelson, of course, is one of online gambling’s staunchest opponents and has been almost fanatical in attempts to stop the spread of online gambling in the US, to little avail.
The subcommittee also plans to call on someone from the state level, although plans had not been finalized as of last week.
It does not appear that other pro or amateur leagues will be called for oral testimony before the subcommittee. That’s notable because the NBA and Major League Baseball have led the charge for regulation of sports wagering at the state level. Those leagues have gotten little of what they desire from sports betting laws passed to date.