New Jersey congressman makes case to end federal sports betting ban

New Jersey Congressman Frank Pallone has voiced his belief that the federal ban on sports betting should be lifted.

Pallone, a member of the Democratic Party, did so during a congressional hearing relating to the safety and regulation of mixed martial arts (MMA) in the state.

He used the opportunity to shine a spotlight on the Gaming Accountability & Modernisation Enhancement Act (GAME Act) – proposed legislation that would update federal gaming laws that Pallone went on to describe as “outdated”.

GAME would move to repeal the controversial 1992 ‘Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act’ (PASPA), which currently prohibits sports betting activities throughout the country, including the state of New Jersey.

Pallone said: “There is a revolution in the world of sports and that’s the exploding popularity of sports betting. Sports betting is more popular and widely accepted than ever before.

“Despite that, it’s still illegal in most of the country. A majority of Americans now believe that sports betting should be legal, and since it’s happening anyway we should ensure that basic consumer protections are attached to it.”

The New Jersey congressman also appeared to have the support of UFC Vice President of Regulatory Affairs Marc Ratner, who was representing the UFC during the hearing.

Ratner said: “I know offshore there’s betting everywhere. In Nevada, all our fights are put on the board, you can bet on the first fight through the last.

“Personally, not for the UFC, I am in favor of sports betting around the world, around the country especially.”

The case to legalise sports betting in New Jersey will be heard in front of the US Supreme Court next month.