American Gaming Association (AGA) President and CEO Bill Miller has testified at a hearing on “Protecting the Integrity of College Athletics” this week at the invitation of the US Senate Judiciary Committee.

While the hearing centered on name, image, and likeness issues, it also included discussion on the impact of legal sports betting on the integrity of college sports.

Said Miller: “My testimony focused on familiar themes: the failure of the 25-year federal prohibition on sports betting (PASPA); the dangers of the pervasive and predatory illegal market; and the protections for the entire system that only exist within legal, regulated markets. 

“Americans have a longstanding interest in sports betting that predates the Supreme Court’s invalidation of PASPA, and I used today’s hearing to reinforce the responsibility that everyone involved in the sports betting ecosystem shares to continue to get this right.”

He added: “Importantly, I impressed upon the committee that sports betting regulation should continue to be led by the more than 4,000 experienced state and tribal regulators nationwide. The federal government can be a strong partner in combating the illegal market and leveling the playing field for operators playing by the rules. It is a great privilege to represent the US casino gaming industry every day, and that was especially true on Capitol Hill today.”

In his statement to the hearing, Miller warned that the lack of transparency into illegal wagering may pose significant risks to both the integrity of sporting contests and the athletes who compete in them. “Fortunately, more than 4 in 10 (41.3%) Americans have – or will soon have – legal channels available to bet on sports in their home state,” he said. “However, a vast illegal market continues to operate and remains the only option for far too many. 

“Accordingly, we believe the shared goal of policymakers and other stakeholders should be to seize this opportunity to bring betting activity into a legal market, under state and tribal regulatory oversight, which will enhance transparency, consumer protections, and game and bet integrity, while supporting jobs and generating tax revenue.” 

Miller also drew reference to the AGA’s marketing code which stresses the importance of respecting the legal age for sports betting, supporting responsible gaming, controlling digital media and websites, and monitoring compliance. 

He noted: “Of particular relevance to today’s discussion, the marketing code states that, ‘sports wagering should not be promoted or advertised in college or university-owned news assets (eg school newspapers, radio, or television broadcasts, etc) or advertised on college or university campuses’.” 

On maintaining integrity in sport, he told the hearing: “The gaming industry and sports governing bodies share a significant mutual interest in upholding the utmost integrity of all sporting events. 

Even the mere suggestion of scandal poses the risk of inflicting significant damage to our operators’ brands and reputations, as well as real economic harm if a bet is placed on an event if the outcome is fixed. 

“That is why our industry takes sports integrity very seriously, deploying innovative technologies and other resources available to track legal wagering activity and identify suspicious activities.” 

Read a transcript of Miller’s remarks, as prepared for delivery, here and testimony submitted for the record here.