In the United States, the effort to repeal the 25-year-old prohibition on sports wagering in all but four states has been ramped up after the American Gaming Association trade group announced the creation of a special coalition that it set to advocate for the legalization of sportsbetting nationwide.
The current prohibition was instituted by the passage of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) in 1992 and forbids all wagering on sports outside of Nevada, Delaware, Montana, and Oregon. These states were exempted from the country-wide ban because they had approved some form of sportsbetting before the federal law went into effect. New Jersey had been given the chance to become the fifth member of this club but was unable to pass legislation within the required time window but has since petitioned the United States Supreme Court for the right to institute legalized sports wagering.
One of the casino industry’s premiere lobbying groups, the American Gaming Association explained that its new American Sports Betting Coalition is made up of organizations of attorneys general and police, policymakers, and others and is set to work for the repeal of PASPA in an attempt to curb an illegal market that is currently conservatively estimated to be worth about $150 billion.
“Big government’s 1992 sportsbetting prohibition has failed to protect sports, fans, and communities,” read a statement from Geoff Freeman, President and Chief Executive Officer for the American Gaming Association. “We are partnering with local and state elected officials, law enforcement and other diverse interests to tell Washington to get out of the way. Regulated sportsbetting is what fans want and sports integrity demands.”
Citing research from Oxford Economics, the American Gaming Association additionally stated that overturning the current federal prohibition on sportsbetting could create up to 152,000 jobs and lead to an estimated $26 billion in economic output while generating up to $5.3 billion in tax revenues.
“A regulated market would give states the ability to monitor sportsbetting and diminish the flow of money that fuels criminal organizations,” read a statement from the American Gaming Association. “An open [and] transparent market along with modern analytics technology also makes tracking betting much easier, ensuring the integrity of the game.”
The American Gaming Association moreover pointed to a recent national survey it commissioned conducted by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner that showed almost 60% of Americans and 72% of sports fans regardless of education, political affiliation, income level or geographical location were in favor of ending the current federal prohibition on sportsbetting. It also explained that this research indicated people were much more likely to watch and engage with sports if they were permitted to wager on matches.
“PASPA is unconstitutional and a failed law,” read a statement from Brad Schimel, Wisconsin Attorney General and a General Executive Committee member for the National Association of Attorneys. “I, along with several of my colleagues from other states, believe we must respect state sovereignty. That is why we filed an amicus brief to the New Jersey case. The rampant illegal sportsbetting that currently exists continues to fuel other criminal activities and provides no consumer protections. States should be able to determine for themselves how to address the issue.”
As a further illustration of the drive around the United States to legalize sportsbetting, the American Gaming Association pointed to the fact that seven states in Pennsylvania, Michigan, South Carolina, New York, Maryland, West Virginia and Connecticut had so far introduced some form of sports wagering legislation this year.
“I have worked organized crime cases [and] I have seen first-hand the footprint of illegal gambling into large criminal enterprises,” read a statement from Ed Davis, the former Commissioner for the Boston Police Department. “I have worked closely with the AGA the last two years as part of its Illegal Gambling Advisory Board to thoughtfully study these issues [and] it is clear to me we need to regulate sportsbetting; it’s time to get practical about public safety.”