New ‘US Sports Betting Forum’ Brings State Regulators Together On Gambling Policy, Including NJ

US House of Representatives subcommittee discussed legalized sports betting and whether the federal government should intervene nearly a month ago.

Naturally, state regulators, as well as the American Gaming Association, opposed such inclusion. And now, a new group has formed to potentially preempt federal involvement.

Following the subcommittee meeting in late September and last week’s Global Gaming Expo in Las Vegas, the US State Gaming Regulators Forum formed the US Sports Betting Forum.

That forum includes the director of the NJ Division of Gaming Enforcement, David Rebuck, as well as regulators from other states with legal sports gambling. The group could end up impact NJ sports betting down the road, depending on the recommendations and findings from the panel.

What is the US Sports Betting Forum?

Detailed in a Wednesday statement, the newly created forum, composed of industry regulators and stakeholders, would serve several purposes. Among items it would discuss:

  • Policy issues on sports betting
  • Current regulatory and operational issues
  • Information sharing and integrity monitoring
  • Illegal sports betting markets
  • Development of best practices in sports betting oversight

As laid out in the statement, the goal of this forum is to “ensure that sports betting in the US is conducted with integrity, free from criminal and corruptive elements.”

Emphasizing importance of state participation

While by no means required, the participation of states either with or looking into launching regulated sports betting is encouraged by the US Sports Betting Forum.

Expanding the net further, the forum asked for the participation of other “stakeholders,” as termed in the statement:

  • State gaming and lottery regulators
  • Tribal regulators
  • State and federal law enforcement
  • Sports leagues and athletic conferences
  • Sports betting operators

The intention, per the statement, is for this group to convene on a regular basis. Frequent reports and updates would come from these meetings, addressing sports betting in legal jurisdictions while providing “dialogue and guidance that may benefit the sports betting industry.”

The UNLV International Center for Gaming Regulation would serve as the “independent organizer and secretariat,” according to the release. The forum, meanwhile, will spark communication across state and tribal boundaries to maintain state and tribal regulatory oversight of the sports betting industry.

Basically: “Take a seat, federal government. We’ve got this.”‘

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Forum formed to avoid federal oversight

On Sept. 27, the House Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigation held a hearing titled “Post-PASPA: An Examination of Sports Betting in America.”

Throughout that Thursday morning, discussions surrounded the necessity, or lack thereof, of the federal government stepping in with an overarching regulatory framework to better protect the integrity of legalized sports betting.

While several witnesses spoke of the evil of sports betting, AGA senior vice president of public affairs Sara Slane attempted to calm nerves. After all, among the things those anti-wagering witnesses clamored for were already in place in existing states, including NJ sports betting.

“States and tribes have proven to be effective gaming regulators in the 26 years since Congress enacted PASPA. As Congress has refrained from regulating lotteries, slot machines, table games and other gambling products, it should similarly refrain from engaging on sports wagering barring an identifiable problem that warrants federal attention.”

The statement from the newly formed forum invites representatives from sports betting stakeholders to participate in the forum.

Six members already comprise the forum, including Rebuck. Also on the forum are:

  • Nevada Gaming Control Board chairwoman Becky Harris
  • Kevin O’Toole, executive director of the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board
  • Allen Godfrey, executive director of the Mississippi Gaming Commission
  • Michigan Gaming Control Board executive director Rick Kalm
  •  Louisiana Gaming Control Board chairman Ronnie Jones

Mississippi already has legalized sports betting, and sports betting in Pennsylvania should roll out later this year. Legislation has been considered in the other two states.

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.