House Moves to Repeal Sports Betting Prohibition

AP Photo
AP Photo/Seth Wenig

On Thursday the House Energy and Commerce Committee released a draft of legislation which aims to remove federal restrictions on sports betting. The initiative grants individual states the ability to legalize online gambling.

The Gaming Accountability and Modernization Act (GAME Act) gives oversight authority to the Federal Trade Commission, and delineates the steps states take in order to provide legal sports betting. The new legislation would include betting on fantasy sports.

The GAME Act repeals the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) of 1992, aka the Bradley Act, named after the law’s main sponsor, former NBA hall-of-famer and NJ Senator Bill Bradley. PASPA effectively outlawed betting on professional and amateur sports nationwide, with the exception of a few states.

Sports betting is legal in Nevada and is the only state that allows single-game sports betting. Delaware, Nevada and New Jersey are the only states where online gambling is legal, ESPN reported.

According to the GAME Act, a bet or wager is defined as “the risking of something of value including virtual currency or virtual items, upon the outcome of a contest of others, a sporting event or a game of skill or a game of chance, on the expectation that the person will receive something of value in the event of a certain outcome.”

Rep. Frank Pallone, D-New Jersey, who is leading the House Energy and Commerce Committee with the legislation, believes gambling laws need to be modernized. “Despite the federal gaming laws in place today, Americans are betting up to $400 billion a year on sporting events alone,” Pallone stated when announcing the new legislation. “It’s time to recognize that the laws are outdated, and the GAME Act will modernize them by increasing transparency, integrity, and consumer protections.”

According to the ESPN report, there are other legislations involving sports betting being introduced:

The Supreme Court is currently deciding whether to review New Jersey’s efforts to legalize sports betting. Michigan, New York, Pennsylvania, West Virginia are among other states to introduce sports betting legislation in 2017. At the federal level, the American Gaming Association, which represents the gambling industry, is building a coalition and plans to begin lobbying Congress to lift PASPA this year.

In case your gambling is getting out of control, the GAME Act also provides that the Secretary of Health and Human Services has authority to establish programs for the prevention and treatment of gambling addiction.

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