Legalization of sports betting campaign goes all the way to Capitol Hill

  • AGA, ASBC join lawmakers to discuss PASPA repeal prospects
  • Briefing made ahead of New Jersey’s Supreme Court hearing

Casino lobby group the American Gaming Association and the American Sports Betting Coalition met with lawmakers and industry insiders yesterday as part of a Capitol Hill roundtable event to discuss the federal ban on sports betting.

The American Gaming Association has taken its sports betting campaign to Capitol Hill.
The American Gaming Association has taken its sports betting campaign to Capitol Hill.

The briefing took place ahead of New Jersey’s efforts to repeal the US law that restricts states from operating sports bet services, which will go before the Supreme Court later this year.

Panel highlights jobs boost sports betting would create

During the meeting, the AGA’s Sara Slane told the panel how “a legal, regulated marketplace offers the potential for millions of dollars in tax revenue and an avenue for up to 150,000 jobs.”

There is already an active black market for sports betting in the US, which takes an estimated $150 billion out of the economy.

A regulated, taxed legal operation would benefit its host state and the wider community by creating jobs and bringing in additional revenue, contests the AGA.

Over the coming months, the lobby for legal sports betting will face its first real test as New Jersey prepares to challenge the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act in the Supreme Court.

If successful, NJ will join four other states which already have laws permitting state management of gambling services.

It will also open the door for other states who want to self-govern on the sports betting issue, and could ultimately force a repeal of the PASPA law.

Public support for sports betting grows

A Washington Post poll has added weight to the pro-sports bet lobby’s argument, revealing that a 55% majority of the population do support sports betting – or at least, support the rights of states to regulate it themselves.

Among sports bettors and fantasy league players, support for legalization is at 84% and 79% respectively.

Almost three quarters of sports fans say they feel betting should be legalized, and over half of party representatives on both sides of the House are roundly supportive of a PASPA review.

This weight of public opinion and support should give New Jersey the edge over federal attorneys when the case comes to court.

The ASBC and the AGA remain key supporters of the campaign, with both filing briefs in support of the state’s bid, and gambling agencies have pledged to keep the pressure up until the unpopular PASPA legislation is reconsidered.

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