Sen. Orin Hatch Will Introduce Legislation to Stop Sports Betting After Supreme Court Ruling

Orrin Hatch
The Associated Press

Utah Sen. Orin Hatch announced plans to introduce new legislation that would once again curb sports betting, after the nation’s highest court shot down federal rules prohibiting sports gambling.

The Utah Republican said on Monday that he plans to introduce a bill that would set national standards for sports betting to stop individual states from making their own rules, Pro Football Talk reported.

“The problems posed by sports betting are much the same as they were 25 years ago,” Hatch said in a statement released on May 14. “But the rapid rise of the Internet means that sports betting across state lines is now just a click away. We cannot allow this practice to proliferate amid uneven enforcement and a patchwork race to the regulatory bottom. At stake here is the very integrity of sports. That’s why I plan to introduce legislation in the coming weeks to help protect honesty and principle in the athletic arena. I invite stakeholders and my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to join me in addressing this important issue.”

The Senator’s move comes on the heels of a 6-3 ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court to strike down a portion of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992.

Hatch did not elaborate on how he might write new federal rules to circumvent the high court’s ruling that much of the matter is in the hands of the various states.

Several of the nation’s professional leagues were immediately alarmed by the SCOTUS ruling and expressed fear over the “integrity” of their sports after the ruling was handed down.

“Today’s decision by the United States Supreme Court will have profound effects on Major League Baseball,” the Cincinnati Enquirer reported that MLB said. “As each state considers whether to allow sports betting, we will continue to seek proper protections for our sport, in partnership with other professional sports. Our most important priority is protecting the integrity of our games. We will continue to support legislation that creates air-tight coordination and partnerships between the state, the casino operators and the governing bodies in sports toward that goal.”

The NFL also worried over the ruling:

The NFL’s long-standing and unwavering commitment to protecting the integrity of our game remains absolute. Congress has long recognized the potential harms posed by sports betting to the integrity of sporting contests and the public confidence in these events. Given that history, we intend to call on Congress again, this time to enact a core regulatory framework for legalized sports betting. We also will work closely with our clubs to ensure that any state efforts that move forward in the meantime protect our fans and the integrity of our game.

However, the gaming industry welcomed the move.

Geoff Freeman, president of the American Gaming Association, celebrated the ruling: “Today’s decision is a victory for the millions of Americans who seek to bet on sports in a safe and regulated manner. Today’s ruling makes it possible for states and sovereign tribal nations to give Americans what they want: an open, transparent, and responsible market for sports betting.”

Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.

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