Congress Schedules Sports Betting Hearing

ESPN has reported that the House Judiciary Committee has scheduled a congressional hearing on sports betting for June 26th in Washington DC. This comes around six months after the Supreme Court ruled that the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (PASPA) was unconstitutional. Legal sports betting is also being examined by the Senate Commerce Committee and the Senate Judiciary Committee.

The objective of the House Judiciary Committee hearing is more than likely to examine the question of sports betting legislation and integrity in sports. Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) is reportedly working on legislation in this area, with the hope of strengthening the Sports Bribery Act. This federal law was not affected by the Supreme Court’s ruling, and it will be interesting to see how Hutch will use it to his advantage.

It has been confirmed that the National Football League (NFL), one of five bodies that worked for years to torpedo New Jersey’s efforts to bring legal sports betting to the state, will participate in the Congressional hearing. The NFL, is hoping that Congress will help create a framework for sports betting.  The NFL has been actively lobbying in Washington to establish a legal framework.

Several days after the Supreme Court ruling, the Commissioner of the NFL, Roger Goodell, asked in a statement for elected officials to “enact uniform standards for states that choose to legalize sports betting.”

He outlined four conditions that the National Football League wants Congress to focus on: protections on major sports leagues’ intellectual property, consumer protections, league data to be readily available to fans and the green card for law officers to “penalize bad actors here at home or abroad.”

In his statement announcing a congressional hearing, Senator Hatch wrote: “The problems posed by sports betting are much the same as they were 25 years ago. But the rapid rise of the internet means that sports betting across state lines is now just a click away. We cannot allow this practice to proliferate amid uneven enforcement and a patchwork race to the regulatory bottom. At stake here is the very integrity of sports. That’s why I plan to introduce legislation in the coming weeks to help protect honesty and principle in the athletic arena. I invite stakeholders and my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to join me in addressing this important issue.”

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