Does Sports Betting in the US Need Federal Oversight?

Publish: 08.11.2018

The US Supreme Court’s decision in May allowed states to decide themselves whether they wanted to make sports betting legal or not.

And while some were more than happy to legalise wagering on sports, and grab a piece of this lucrative market, many of them are still far from reaching such a decision.

Since sports betting is slowly but surely spreading across the US, many believe that some form of federal oversight will be needed in the future, while some senators have already openly called for it.

Divided Opinions

Senator Orrin Hatch said back in May he would give his maximum to introduce federal legislation. Hatch, who has spent more than four decades in Senate, is also one of the authors of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992, or PASPA, which was repealed earlier this year.

He pointed out that when it came to protecting the integrity of the game and the market itself, there should be some consensus on who could place a wager. And although his suggestions are focused only on excluding minors and game officials from betting, there are those whose ideas are more radical.

Does Sports Betting in the US Need Federal Oversight?
Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer believes the leagues should be the one to decide which bets can be accepted. No wonder his proposal quickly gained support from the leagues.

On the other hand, the American Gaming Association believes there’s no need for any sort of federal intervention whatsoever.

But, is federal oversight something sports betting in the US needs at this moment and is it likely to such a move in the coming period? The answer is simple – no!

There’s No Need for It

The reasons why federal legislators should stay away from sports betting are both political and practical. In political terms, the states are more than capable of handling the affairs related to sports betting, and they have a vast experience in doing it since the oversight of gaming has long been their task. Apart from that, instituting federal oversight would require additional regulation.

In practical terms, federal oversight is hardly an interesting topic for the Senate at the moment, due to an ongoing campaign season. Therefore, any move regarding this will have to wait until the elections are over, since only then we’ll know which party controls either house.

Until then, sports betting will hardly be a priority for federal lawmakers.

In theory, some form of federal oversight could be imposed in the future, but such a move needs to be carefully planned and even more carefully structured to gain stakeholders’ approval. If such a move happens, it would probably be limited to ensuring minimum standards of licensure.

We need to point out the federal law could resolve the issue of interstate wagering, but it could add additional costs related to compliance. You can bet the leagues would give their maximum to extract a costly integrity fee in the process.

But in the end, it’s far-fetched to assume federal sports betting law will be a priority in the coming years. But anything might happen. We’ll think about it once it becomes an issue.

Resources