AGA Letter Warns Of Impact That Federal Intervention Will Have On Sports Betting

As Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer advocates for a federal framework for legalized sports betting across the country, the American Gaming Association has raised its finger to wag in Schumer’s direction.

“No thanks,” the AGA has said. “We’ve got this.”

In a letter sent to Schumer last week and signed by Sara Slane, the organization’s senior vice president of public affairs, the AGA expressed a strong belief that “no additional federal engagement is needed at this time based on the significant, effective regulatory oversight already in place.”

More from the letter:

“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.”

Schumer backing Hatch with a plan

Crafted by Sen. Orrin Hatch in 1992, PASPA was repealed in May to clear the way for state-sanctioned sports betting. Immediately, Hatch (who is on his way to retirement) set forth plans to “introduce legislation” for federal oversight of regulated wagering “to help protect honesty and principle in the athletic arena.”

Last month, Hatch delivered a speech on the US Senate floor that focused on the integrity of sports and how legalized sports betting corrupts it.

A week later, Schumer also spoke about integrity, while pleading for federal involvement to, basically, not keep the leagues in the dark.

“With the Supreme Court ruling, it’s incumbent on the federal government to take a leadership role and provide the necessary guidance to prevent uncertainty and confusion for the leagues, state governments, consumers and fans alike.”

What Schumer wants from federal sports betting

Schumer’s proposed federal framework would require any sportsbook that accepts wagers to “share appropriate information in a timely fashion with the league or governing body of the sport in question as well as relevant state, federal, and tribal law enforcement or other appropriate oversight bodies.”

With this process, he claimed, leagues and governing bodies will be able to “identify problematic trends.”

Schumer’s plan also requires bookmakers to use official league data while ceding some control to the leagues to determine what bets casinos can offer.

Additionally, under Schumer’s plan, all “leagues and sports should have effective tools to protect their own game and that includes strong limitations and prohibitions on any athlete, coach, official, team, or league representative from taking a financial stake in any wager.”

As it happens, several states have taken precautionary measures to address some of Schumer’s concerns, including NJ sports betting.

But with such heavy emphasis on their inclusion and potential control of regulated wagering, the main sports leagues have expressed their support of Schumer’s proposal.

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AGA with a plan of its own for sports betting

As noted above, the AGA has committed itself to ridding illegal bookmakers from the US sports betting landscape. The black market, the AGA basically said, is the result of federal intervention. The federal government, therefore, should not become involved once more.

Instead, the AGA outlined its own proposal for a well-run sports betting world. Within it are five “principles that will ensure a safe, successful, legal sports betting market.”

  • Promote responsible gaming and responsible advertising
  • Protect game integrity
  • Discourage enacting legislative preferences for specific business interest
  • Empower state and tribal regulation
  • Place consumers first

“As policy discussions on sports betting progress,” the letter stated, “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.”

About the Author

Grant Lucas

Grant Lucas is a longtime sportswriter who has covered the high school, collegiate, and professional levels. A graduate of Linfield College in McMinnville, Grant has covered games and written features and columns surrounding prep sports, Linfield, and Oregon State athletics and the Portland Trail Blazers throughout his career.