The American Gaming Association (AGA) has hit back at comments made in public recently by US Senator Orrin Hatch who continues to call for a federal, rather than state-by-state, approach to legislating sports betting. Senior vice president, public affairs Sara Slane issued the following statement regarding Hatch’s comments, which suggested that state-level sports betting legislation was a ‘race to the bottom’.

“Federal oversight of sports betting was an abject failure, succeeding only in enabling the growth of a massive illegal market,” noted Slane. “The Supreme Court decision removed this unconstitutional federal overreach, allowing states and sovereign tribal nations – who have proven to be effective regulators of all gaming – to decide what works best for their constituents.”

She added: “The casino industry continues to work with lawmakers, regulators, sports leagues and law enforcement to ensure the proper protection for consumers and the integrity of bets and sporting contests are in place. AGA has been a leading voice on sports betting policy and we will continue to serve as a resource to policymakers like Senator Hatch and his colleagues to ensure the position of the gaming industry is properly represented.”

Having helped author the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA), Hatch will understandably be sorry to have witnessed its demise earlier this year and the adoption of a state-by-state approach to sports betting regulation. But his decision not to seek re-election to the Senate in November signals that these latest comments are more of a valedictory protest than a firm challenge to the new order of sports betting.