Chuck Schumer’s ‘federal framework’ receives mixed reception

US debate and discussion has expanded with regards to developing a ‘federal sports betting framework’, following Democratic Party Senate Leader Chuck Schumer’s proposal of an initial mandate.

One of the highest ranking Democrats, Schumer leads party policy development as leader of the ‘Senate Democrat Committee’.

On Wednesday, Schumer unveiled to ESPN a memo which proposed initial provisions for the development of a federal US sports betting regulatory framework.

Schumer detailed to ESPN that the entire landscape of US sports had changed indefinitely, following SCOTUS’ repeal of PASPA laws.

Heading up the development, research and oversight of Democratic Party policies, Schumer stated that lawmakers’ priorities should switch to preserving sports integrity, protecting consumers and developing responsibility networks.

“With the Supreme Court’s ruling, it’s incumbent on the federal government to take a leadership role and provide the necessary guidance to prevent uncertainty and confusion for the leagues, state governments, consumers and fans alike.”

In his proposal, Schumer outlines a number of federal directives, which Democrats and Republican counterparts should look to support:

  • The requirement of ‘official league data’ to be used by all licensed bookmakers
  • The potential introduction of a ’21-year old’ age limit
  • The enforcement of ‘responsible messaging’ on all betting advertising
  • The open sharing of bookmaker information and data to help monitor the integrity of US sports

Schumer reaffirms that individual states would be required to approve sports betting within their jurisdictions. However, the Senate Minority leader details that each state would be forced to adhere to the federal directives outlining overall protections on sports, consumers and industry commitments.

Following Schumer’s memo, the NBA, MLB and PGA Tour quickly released a joint statement, outlining support towards a federal mandate.

“As legalized sports betting spreads across the states, there is a need for consistent, nationwide integrity standards to safeguard the sports’ millions of fans love,” the leagues said in a joint statement.

“We strongly support the legislative framework outlined by Senator Schumer and we encourage Congress to adopt it.”

The proposal on sports betting could likely receive bi-partisan support from the Senate, as Republican figureheads such as Utah Senator Orrin Hatch have previously stated the intention to introduce unified directives/requirements for US states implementing sports betting frameworks.

It’s important to note, that Chuck Schumer did not disclose any information with regards to potential stumbling blocks such as state taxation, league licensing/integrity fees, or which federal department would be charged with overall monitoring of a US sports betting.

Sara Slane – AGA

Whilst, pro-leagues appear to back Schumer’s initial memo of expanding a federal mandate for US betting, industry trade body the American Gaming Association (AGA) has outlined its concerns.

Having fought a twenty-year battle to repeal PASPA, the AGA appears tepid with regards to supporting any federal agenda for its recently liberalised market.

Sara Slane, Vice President of Public Affairs for  the American Gaming Association (AGA), said on behalf of the association: “The casino gaming industry shares Senator Schumer’s goal in preserving the integrity of sporting events and providing consumer protections. Federal oversight of sports betting was an abject failure for 26 years only contributing to a thriving illegal market with no consumer protections and safeguards. New federal mandates are a nonstarter.”

She added: “The casino industry is working with stakeholders to ensure the proper protections for consumers, and the integrity of bets and sporting contests are included in state policy, universally implemented by all operators in those states, and overseen by effective state and tribal gaming regulators.”

Whilst 2018 has been a landmark year for all US betting stakeholders, progress on the development of a US federal framework or unified code on sports betting will likely face the constitutional quagmire of a ‘state vs federal rights’ battle… US licensed betting now wakes up to a new American reality.

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