In the midst of gambling legalization and the tug-of-war between the states in the US, the Congressional Committee is vowing to review the three major anti gambling acts with the aim of drafting a new legislation in order to pave the way for Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) and some other forms of Gambling.
Earlier this year in the month of August, New York became the 8th state in the US to give approval online gambling, providing it a center stage presence and recognizing it as a ‘Game of Skill’ rather then a ‘Game of Chance’.
Also to add, in the month of November 2014 the newly appointed commissioner of the NBA, Adam Silver wrote a column in the New York Times, which called for the decriminalization of Gambling in sports also keeping in mind the ex-NBA commissioner David Stern also held the same views on the subject. However, NBA happens to be the only League amongst the Big 4 to have supported Sports Gambling.
The Legislations under scrutiny are the Professional Amateur Sports Protection Act (PSPA), 1992 which criminalizes sports betting making it a federal criminal felony. The Interstate Wire Act, 1961, that makes transmission of sports wagering over the phone deemed a state crime and the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA), 2006 which makes the transactions related to Online Gambling (Online Poker) an offence unless sanctioned by the state.
The state of Nevada happens to be the only state in the US to have authorized full single-sport betting. Other then Nevada, there are only three states Oregon, Delaware and Montana offering limited sports betting and other forms of gambling.
The US Representative from the state of New Jersey, Democrat Frank Pallone (House of Energy and Commerce Committee) brought the big three legislations under review and further told the ESPN that the Legislations under review are archaic and overreaching with the requirement to update them or at-least harmonizing the three acts by bringing in a new legislation.
It will be apt to point out that earlier there were efforts being made in order to legalize sports betting in the state of New Jersey via two bills, which were the New Jersey Betting and Equal Treatment act, 2015 and the Sports Gaming Opportunity Act, 2015, but the none of them had any far reaching effects.
Further, two review petitions have already been filed in the Supreme Court against the PASPA, 1992 taking the 10th amendment ground as a passed legislation helping the casinos and the racetracks in the state especially the Atlantic city was struck down in the Third Circuit Court of Appeals. It is also important to note that all the big 4 leagues i.e. the NBA, NFL, MLB, NFL and to add the NCAA with the Department of Justice were a party to the suit and successfully defended their case in the third Circuit.
Looking at the Economics, the states over the period of time have argued that the legalization of Sports and other forms betting’s would help them in raising taxes and fighting revenue deficits as illegal betting via offshore means and countries such as Curacao accounts for $149 billion against Nevada’s legal $4.3 billion. Moreover, it will break the monopoly of the casinos as online betting would be handy and can be played via Mobile phones in the form of I-Gaming.
There are various concerns raised by the Big four leagues and the NCAA leaving out the National Basketball Association (NBA), predominantly in the case of National Hockey League (NHL) which has just awarded a expansion frnachise to Las Vegas and in the NFL, the Oakland Raiders waiting for the approval from the other franchise owner for relocation to Las Vegas. The leagues have argued that the town is literally bugged with betting and can actually affect the conduct of the teams.
As many states are falling brick by brick legalizing fantasy sports and with the lobbying efforts of the Gambling/Sports betting beneficiary enterprises in the Capitol Hill, it will be pertinent to analyze the up side and the down side of a federal legislation decriminalizing something criminalized for the past 24 years.