House Hearing on Sports Betting Officially Scheduled

Written by:
Gilbert Horowitz
Published on:

Congress is set to examine whether sports betting guidelines will be needed as more states legalize the activity.

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On Thursday, a House Judiciary subcommittee scheduled a hearing titled "An Examination of Sports Betting in America" for Sept. 27, in Washington, D.C.  Reports of the hearing began surfacing last week.

A Supreme Court ruling in May opened the doors for all states to allow sports gambling provided they amend their own laws.  Nearly half the U.S. states are expected to have operating sportsbooks by 2021.

"My subcommittee will look at the implications of this SCOTUS ruling and talk about what it means for the integrity of sports as well as what sorts of improper or illicit activities could arise," said subcommittee chairman Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.). "Ultimately, we want to determine whether or not a basic federal framework is necessary to guide states' new gambling policies."

The news comes as New Jersey regulators were being tested with their own regulatory oversight.

Anthony Prince of Newark had been denied a payout of $82,000 by FanDuel after he made his bet and was handed a ticket at incredible 750-1 odds with about a minute left in Sunday's Raiders-Broncos game. The Broncos, trailing by 2 points on their final drive, kicked a field goal with 6 seconds left to win 20-19. 

FanDuel claimed its system should have calculated the odds at 1-6, meaning the payout should have just been $100 and the risk $600. Prince placed a $110 bet and was denied the $82,000 based on the odds given.

FanDuel reversed its decision on Thursday afternoon after mounting pressure and says it will now pay the player in full.

The American Gaming Association (AGA) is set to testify at the September 27 hearing.  They have advised House Minority Leader Chuck Schumer that individual states do have the ability to fully regulate sports betting on their own.

The House hearing is also likely to push for a controversial "integrity fee" supported by the leagues, which essentially would provide the NFL, NBA and other leagues with what amounts to a royalty from sports betting.

"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 NBA, PGA Tour and Major League Baseball said in a joint statement. "We strongly support the legislative framework outlined by Senator Schumer and we encourage Congress to adopt it."

Thus far, states offering sports betting can claim success.  More than $152 million has been bet on sports at New Jersey sportsbooks since mid-June.  Mississippi and West Virginia are two other states where sportsbooks now operate.

- Gilbert Horowitz,

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