[toc]Earlier this month, the state of New Jersey presented oral arguments in the headlining Christie v. NCAA Supreme Court of the United States hearing on sports betting.
A decision isn’t likely until the spring, but that didn’t stop Nevada Rep. Dina Titus from asking the Committee on Energy and Commerce to bring the issue before Congress. Her request that is yet another indication that lawmakers foresee states legalizing sports betting.
Titus’ letter brings up several arguments for legalizing sports betting, then concludes with the fact that Titus’ district includes the Las Vegas Strip. Titus knows that she can rally the 40 gaming companies in the state to provide all the resources necessary to educate and equip Congress to make a sound decision.
Illegal market can be crippled with PASPA repeal
One of Titus’ main arguments is that the US is home to a $150 billion illegal sports betting industry “which is ripe for manipulation and use in other forms of criminal activity,” she wrote.
Why continue to allow the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) to handcuff state legislators with an out-of-date gambling law when giving states the freedom to legislate sports betting could create millions of dollars in revenue for statewide and local projects?
“Legalizing sports betting with regulation and safeguards would diminish problems caused by the black market and allow state governments to generate additional tax revenue to fund local communities,” she wrote.
States, NBA commish ready for legal sports betting
Titus’ second argument pointed out that two states — Pennsylvania and Connecticut — have already passed sports betting laws in anticipation of the NJ SCOTUS case.
In addition to that, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has expressed his support of congressional discussions about sports betting in the United States.
While Silver has been vocal about his belief that sports betting will become a reality, some in the industry say the commissioner talks a good game but has yet to take real action in joining the fight to repeal PASPA.
Regardless of his action or lack thereof, the fact that Silver is the commissioner of one of the country’s most popular professional sports is an advantage. It’s worth noting that the NBA originally fought against New Jersey in the state’s first push for a PASPA repeal in 2011.
For Titus and many in the industry, the reasons for giving states the power to legalize sports betting is a no-brainer. Congress, Titus wrote, should get ahead of the influx of legal betting before it’s too late:
“It is evident that this issue will be coming to Congress, and we must be ready to move quickly to ensure we protect consumers while excluding bad actors from participating int the marketplace.”