Senator Orrin Hatch’s recently circulated bill that recommends federal oversight of sports betting in the US has been met with heavy criticism this week. Push back came from the American Gaming Association (AGA) and consumer interest organization Consumer Action for a Strong Economy (CASE).
Speaking on behalf of the AGA, Senior Vice President of Public Affairs Sara Slane said: “This bill is the epitome of a solution in search of a problem, representing an unprecedented and inappropriate expansion of federal involvement in the gaming industry, which is currently one of the most strictly regulated in the country.”
She added: “Across the country, nearly 4,000 dedicated public servants already regulate all forms of gaming, including sports wagering, with more than $500m committed to ensuring the integrity of commercial casinos’ operations and $822m spent on regulation of tribal gaming in 2015 alone. These state and tribal regulators have decades of experience effectively overseeing gaming operations within their jurisdictions.
“Additional areas this bill seeks to address – including the mandatory use of official league data and the creation of a national sports wagering clearinghouse – can, and should, be decided by marketplace negotiations between private businesses and cooperative agreements among jurisdictions. In the mere six months since the U.S. Supreme Court paved the way for legal, regulated sports betting, significant developments on both of these fronts have already occurred without any federal involvement.”
Slane concluded: “While federal regulation of sports betting will continue to be a non-starter for the gaming industry, we appreciate the sponsors’ recognition that more must be done to curb illegal sports betting operations, which continue to pose the biggest impediment to the success of a legal market that will benefit and protect consumers, sports leagues and casino operators alike.”
CASE was similarly dismissive, saying in a statement: “Like the Music Man showing up in River City, the US Senate is now striking up the band to commandeer the post-PASPA landscape on sports gaming, dictating terms from Washington that should be left to the individual states to determine. The legislation proposed today by Sen. Hatch and Schumer is more Washington overkill and entirely unnecessary.
“By pre-emptively forcing heavy-handed rules onto the gaming industry before the market is given a chance to take shape, this hasty piece of legislation risks stifling the tremendous opportunity for economic growth, job creation, and additional tax revenue that sports betting can provide to the states. It further eliminates consumers from the equation, forbidding them from having the choice to determine the licensing and regulating standards that work best within their state borders.
“Sports betting is a growing, multi-billion dollar pastime enjoyed by tens of millions of consumers, with a majority of Americans in support of its legalized status. State-based regulation worked just fine in the past when sports betting was limited to just a few states, and this framework should be allowed to continue without needless and potentially harmful interference from Washington. We urge Congress to let the marketplace, consumers, industry, and regulators within the 50 states to exercise their right to deliberate on the course ahead without short-sighted and impulsive legislation.”