US Sports Betting Under Scrutiny in House Judiciary Hearing

A hearing to review the sports betting industry in the United States has been scheduled by the Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security and Investigation.

The hearing will take place in Washington, D.C. on September 27.

Are federal sports betting guidelines needed?

Congress is preparing to examine the sports betting industry as a whole, to answer the question as to whether federal regulations are needed for sports betting, as more sportsbooks are opened in states that have passed legislation and created regulations for the industry within their borders.

During the upcoming hearing, the House Judiciary subcommittee will take a look at the current landscape in the US involving sports betting after the United States Supreme Court’s decision in May which struck down of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (PASPA). Following this decision, states were then able to offer legalized sports betting, with many already taking advantage.

So far, Delaware, New Jersey, Mississippi and West Virginia have launched services. The state of Nevada can be added to the list, but it already offered such wagering options, having been allowed to under PASPA.

Additional states are preparing to launch sports betting in the near future, as they finalize legislation and wait for approvals. Earlier this week, the District of Columbia introduced the Sports Wagering Lottery Amendment Act of 2018, set to legalize sports betting in the region.

Subcommittee chairman Representative Jim Sensenbrenner stated: “My subcommittee will look at the implications of this SCOTUS ruling and talk about what it means for the integrity of sports as well as what sorts of improper or illicit activities could arise. Ultimately, we want to determine whether or not a basic federal framework is necessary to guide states’ new gambling policies.”

Sports betting boom

Where sports betting is already fully functioning in several states, the revenues are steadily rolling in. In New Jersey, sports betting began in the middle of June and, already, more than $152m (€129m) has been wagered within the new industry.

New online options have recently launched in the state, so it is expected that the total number of sports bets placed will only continue to grow.

In Mississippi, sports bettors have been out in full force since the ability to legally place sports wagers came available. According to VSO News, the state saw a total of $9.8m (€8.3m) wagered during the first full month of operations. In August, 20 commercial casinos in the region began offering sports betting in the state.

According to the American Gaming Association, it has been estimated that Americans wager as much as $150b (€127b) on sports each year. The majority of this amount has been wagered via a black market that consists of local bookmakers and offshore sportsbooks.

With legalized sports betting now becoming available, Americans will now have a more secure way to place their bets.

The AGA is planning on attending the upcoming hearing, having stated that it plans on discussing the core principles for legalized sports betting with the committee. The AGA supports legalized sports betting as it offers a legal and regulated industry that enables an increase in transparency and enhanced protections for consumers, as well as bet and game integrity.