As Sports Betting Begins, Feds Consider Closing it Down
By Ken Edwards, 3 January 2019
Just as legal sports betting is starting to blossom across the United States, and New Jersey has already passed the $1 billion mark in sports wagers, two U.S. senators from either-side-of-the-aisle are already proposing changes that the Federal Government seize back control of sports-betting from the states, after it was thought the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in May 2018 settled the matter once-and-for-all on the side of New Jersey and the other states-of-the-union.
Eight states have begun offering sports-betting after New Jersey won the lengthy legal battle in May, and many others are expected to take-up the legalization of sports wagering during the new legislative sessions in 2019 as-a-way to generate millions in revenue for their respective state budgets.
A federal bill introduced last week by Senator Charles Schumer, a Democrat from New York State, and Senator Orrin Hatch, Republican of Utah, would have the U.S. Justice Department set minimum standards for states to offer sports betting. Their co-sponsored bill does not explicitly hand the professional sports leagues their cut of gambling revenue they are looking for, (the so-called “integ-ity fees’), however, it does not preclude them for seeking their slice-of-the sports betting-pie, either.
Schumer & Hatch look to go ‘Back to the Future’
Senator Schumer spoke in an impassioned manner of his belief that the Federal Government take back control of sports betting;
“I knew that Congress had an obligation to ensure that the integrity of the games we love was never compromised,” Schumer said. “That is why I believe the time is now to establish a strong national integrity standard for sports betting that will protect consumers and the games themselves from corruption.” the Senator concluded.
Hatch said he has begun formalizing the legislative language shortly after the Supreme Court ruling in May 2018;
“I began working with stakeholders to ensure we were doing everything possible to protect the integrity of sports from corruption. The legislation we’ve introduced today is the culmination of eight months of high-level meetings, discussions, and negotiations, and will serve as a placeholder for the next Congress, should they decide to continue working to address these issues,” said Hatch, who soon faces retirement and is looking to make this legalization his swansong from Congress and go out with a bang, impressing his strongly anti-gambling constituents from Mormon Utah.
Hurting from the legal beating they received from the State of New Jersey, the professional leagues suddenly jumped onboard expressing their support for the co-sponsored Congressional bill proposed by Hatch and Schumer. The NFL, MLB and PGA all came out with prepared statements in support of the bill shortly after its announcement.
It is anticipated that the eight states that already have legal sports betting could continue to offer sports wagering if the bill enters into the debate phase, although it is unsure what could happen to the states that may well rule for sports betting in this January’s legislative sessions of their respective state houses.
States to push on regardless
Given that the sports betting ball has already started-to-roll, and its gained so- much-impetus, it may prove impossible for Federal Legislators to stop.
It’s unlikely that the Hatch-Schumer bill will get a lot of support, as the massive amount of ‘grandfathering’ (allowing for states that have already ruled for legal sports betting and others that already have legislation in the pipeline) may make it ineffective.
The horse has already bolted and it just may be that Hatch and Schumer’s fellow Federal legislators may not be up for a legislative fight they’ll probably lose.
Know one thing – New Jersey will not give up without a fight.