The American Gaming Association has written to Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), reinforcing its priorities for successful legal sports betting markets and commitment to working with Schumer and all stakeholders to stamp out the vast illegal market.
The missive noted: “AGA has long been 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). We believe this can best be achieved through law enforcement oversight and robust state regulation. AGA firmly believes that additional federal engagement is not warranted at this time.”
In the letter, the AGA described the US Supreme Court’s decision to declare PASPA unconstitutional is “an essential first step to shutting down illegal sports betting” because it allows states and tribes to legalize and robustly regulate sports betting within their borders. It stated: “Bringing sports betting activity into a transparent legal market, under state and tribal regulatory oversight, empowers law enforcement to tackle illegal gambling, provides essential consumer protection and better ensures bet and game integrity. It will also create new American jobs and generate additional local, state and federal tax revenue.”
This positive development is, added the AGA, widely supported by the American public, gaming operators, law enforcement and policymakers who recognized federal efforts to prohibit sports betting failed. “Instead, responsible, legal sports betting operators should supplant the estimated $150bn illegal market run by offshore websites and corner bookies. Even the professional sports leagues that pushed for PASPA to remain intact have now embraced a legal sports betting environment to help drive fan interaction and diminish the risk to game integrity posed by the illegal market.”
Pitching against Schumer’s call for federal oversight, the association wrote: “AGA strongly believes no additional federal engagement is needed at this time based on the significant, effective regulatory oversight already in place. Across the country, more than 4,000 dedicated public servants effectively regulate the commercial and tribal casino industry, including sports wagering. 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.”
On empower state and tribal regulation, the AGA stated: “Some form of regulated gaming and/or lottery now exists in 48 states. The gaming industry is already one of the most-regulated in the country, and state and tribal regulators have decades of experience effectively overseeing gaming operations within their jurisdictions. The 24 states that offer commercial casino gaming have proven to be effective regulators of gaming, with more than $600m committed to ensuring the integrity of casinos’ operations in 2015 alone.
“Similarly, in the 28 states that offer tribal casino gaming, the 251 tribal governments spent almost $822m on the overall regulation of tribal gaming in 2015. The regulations currently in place in every jurisdiction already address issues like age restrictions, record keeping requirements and licensing and suitability determinations, among others. On top of that, the gaming industry is subject to stringent federal anti-money laundering regulations and has a strong record of compliance in that area.”
The association concluded: “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.”