Congress yet to decide post-PASPA US

Publish: 03.10.2018

Congress is yet to decide what the post-PASPA world will look like. The House Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security and Investigation met last week to discuss sports betting and gambling regulations in the country. Large stakeholders in the gambling and sports betting industry, like sports leagues, are pushing for federal regulations.

Now, the subcommittee is also receiving letters from other concerned groups which intend to make their voices heard. Most of the letters suggest that Congress leaves sports betting to the states and let them make their own regulations.

Two letters representing law enforcement officials supported state regulations instead of federal policies. They suggested that local enforcement can handle sports betting better when states make rules. Sheriff Michael Bouchard of Oakland County, Michigan wrote a letter on behalf of the Major County Sheriffs of America.

The letter states that making sports betting legal could help them fight both primary and secondary crime. However, he also suggested that integrity fee is impractical and inappropriate. Such fee reduces the resources available to law enforcement officers and diverts it towards for-profit businesses which have no experience in handling implementing laws.

The National Fraternal Order of Police also sent a letter to the subcommittee, claiming that PASPA removal is a public safety issue above all else. National President Chuck Canterbury wrote that law enforcement should focus on ending all illegal sports betting markets. He noted that unregulated environments handle a majority of sports bets.

Four other letters advocating state-wise sports betting regulations came from different advocacy groups. Almost all the groups concluded that the end of PASPA represents the power to make regulations back to the state.

Of these groups, Americans for Tax Reform, the American Conservative Union, and Consumer Action for a Strong Economy (CASE) strongly suggested that the striking down of PASPA will help in generating new revenue opportunities for the states and local governments. They also said that states have a fundamental right to follow its own course instead of sticking to the federal requirements. Federal oversight will not just go against the spirit of the constitution but also create the potential for black market activity.

The fourth letter came from the National Conference of State Legislatures which argued in favor of stronger voter engagement and determinism if states are allowed to make laws. Executive Director William Pound said that PASPA was a symbolism of the one-size-fits-all federal approach to gambling and sports betting. He also suggested that federal regulations overlook complex issues like regulation, policy and law enforcement.

Last week’s hearing at the subcommittee doesn’t have a follow-up date, and no bill has been tabled by a senator yet. This could land the question of state or federal oversight in sports betting in jeopardy. As more voices are being heard, we can hope for a balanced regulation.