AGA to oppose ‘untested’ federal involvement at House hearing
The American Gaming Association (AGA) will today (Thursday) tell House representatives that “no additional federal engagement is needed” in sports betting in the first Washington DC hearing on the sector since the repeal of PASPA four months ago.
Sara Slane, the AGA’s senior vice-president of public affairs, will be among those to give evidence to a House Judiciary subcommittee hearing titled ‘Post-PASPA: An Examination of Sports Betting in America’.
Nevada Gaming Control Board (NGCB) chair Becky Harris and academic John Kindt, a prominent opponent of gambling, will also give evidence, along with representatives from the NFL and the Sheldon Adelson-backed Coalition to Stop Internet Gambling.
Interestingly, iGamingBusiness.com understands that the latter’s Jon Bruning, a former Nebraska attorney general, will argue that the Wire Act should be amended to allow for online sports betting across America.
The hearing was scheduled a month after Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer released sports betting guidelines, with the support of some professional sports leagues. A joint statement released by the NBA, MLB and PGA Tour said “there is a need for consistent, nationwide integrity standards to safeguard the sports millions of fans love”.
The subcommittee will consider whether further federal oversight is necessary, with states such as New Jersey, Mississippi, West Virginia and Delaware having legalised betting unilaterally since PASPA was repealed.
Slane (pictured) told iGamingBusiness.com that she will tell House members that the vast majority of Americans support the right of states and tribes to decide on their own betting laws, and that “significant, effective regulatory oversight” is already in place.
“My testimony will focus on conveying the extent to which the gaming industry is already a well-regulated industry from the top-down and why states and sovereign tribal nations – not the federal government – are best positioned to regulate and oversee legal sports betting markets,” she said.
“Replacing an already proven regulatory regime with a non-existent and untested federal oversight apparatus would be out of step with seven in 10 Americans who think this decision should be left to each state and tribe.
“The AGA is unwavering in our commitment to continue a constructive dialogue on sports betting with all stakeholders. I hope to engage in a productive discussion at the hearing with members of the subcommittee and serve as a resource for anyone considering statutory or regulatory policies to govern sports betting.”
Nevada regulatory head Harris will also argue for state independence. In an NGCB statement released to iGamingBusiness.com, we were told Harris “feels very strongly that the states are in the best position to regulate legalised sports betting.”
The highlight of the meeting could well be evidence given by the NFL’s Jocelyn Moore, executive vice-president of communications and public affairs for the NFL, who will give more insight into the attitude of America’s biggest sports league to the roll-out of betting across the country. A traditional opponent of gambling, the NFL has already called on a federal law to be put in place involving a “core regulatory framework” for legalised sports betting.
In testimony submitted ahead of the hearing, Moore said: “The absence of a clear and enforceable set of legal standards for sports betting threatens the integrity of our nation’s professional and amateur sporting contests.”
The subcommittee hearing, which will commence at 10am EST, is seen as Washington’s first opportunity to fully consider the implications of the repeal of PASPA.
“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,” said subcommittee chairman Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner.
“Ultimately, we want to determine whether or not a basic federal framework is necessary to guide states' new gambling policies.”