New Proposal Introduced to Void Federal Prohibition of Sports Betting & iGaming

by Kyle Miller

A new proposal has been introduced that would repeal current federal legislation and see sports betting and online gambling legalized within the United States.

For several years now, states in the US have been trying to pass legislation to offer online gambling on a state by state basis. Each state has to pass their own bill with regulations in place in order to offer online casino and poker gaming. Only Delaware, Nevada and New Jersey have been able to do so and that was a few years ago. Other states have come close but not close enough as of yet. Now, it seems a new proposal has been created that would give each state the ability to offer online gaming as well as sports betting.

What’s This New Bill?

The Gaming Accountability and Modernization Enhancement Act or GAME Act was revealed today, having been created by the House Energy and Commerce Committee. The goal of the bill is to remove the federal restrictions in regards to online gambling and sports betting, giving the Federal Trade Commission oversight authority and outlining consumer protections so that states have what they need to get started.

The GAME Act covers sports betting specifically in Section 8 and if passed would repeal the current sports betting ban known as the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992. Sports betting is currently only legalized in four states with Nevada being the only state to offer full wagering options. When it comes to online gambling, Nevada, New Jersey and Delaware are the only three that offer the activity, be it casino, poker or both.

The Act opens up the definition of a bet or wager as an individual risking something of value such as virtual items or virtual currency within a contest or others, including a sporting event, game of skill or chance, with a goal of the individual earning something of value due to a specific outcome. Included in this definition are such gaming categories as the lottery, fantasy sports, sports betting and fantasy esports.

Who’s Leading the Charge?

Frank PalloneThe charge of this new bill is being led by Representative Frank Pallone of New Jersey. Pallone is a ranking member of the Committee that presented the measure and wants to see federal gambling laws change. According to Pallone, after reviewing the federal laws in regards to gambling as well as the looking into the legal and illegal markets, he found that in the United States, illegal gambling is prevalent. The Representative feels that the laws need to be updated in order to maintain relevance and stay in line with modern gambling needs.

During the announcement of the new legislation, Pallone stated that even though federal gaming laws are in place, Americans are wagering as much as $400 billion a year on just sporting events. Pallone feels that now is the time to realize that the laws are outdated and that the GAME Act will modernize the laws by increasing integrity, consumer protections and transparency.

The details of the new proposal state that any facility that accepts bets in more than one state would need to submit a description of how they will comply with the FTC based on the required consumer protections. Safeguards for data security, recourse means for consumers and age/location verification means must all be provided.

In the past, the states have been able to decide gambling regulations within the US. A federal law does exist in regards to sports betting. The Wire Act of 1961 changes states were given the ability to create laws in which online gambling could be offered but sports betting is not included.

Also part of this new legislation, the Secretary of Health and Human Services will be in charge of creating programs that will help with the prevention and treatment of gambling addiction.