Two US Senators Oppose Challenge to Sports Betting Law

Written by:
Guest
Published on:
Jul/24/2009
Orrin Hatch

Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ) wrote a letter to US Attorney-General Eric Holder, asking him to vigorously oppose a suit challenging the Federal law banning the expansion of state licensed and regulated sports wagering, brought by the Interactive Media Entertainment & Gaming Association (iMEGA).

iMEGA, et al v. Holder, et al, filed in US District Court in New Jersey in March of this year, seeks to overturn the Professional Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1991 (PASPA). That Federal law barred all but four states - Nevada, Delaware, Montana and Oregon - from offering state licensed and regulated sports wagering.

With Delaware set to revive sports wagering in its casinos this fall, New Jersey's resort casinos in Atlantic City - already hurt by the recession and increased regional competition - will be faced with a competitive imbalance reinforced by a Federal law that provides an advantage to its neighbor while prohibiting New Jersey from allowing their casinos to offer sports wagering, too.

New Jersey wants to raise tax revenue by offering regulated sports wagering at its casinos and online to state residents. New Jersey may earn more than $100 million per year in taxes by regulating sports gaming, from an existing market which is estimated at more than $10 billion per year in the state.

"We are writing to express our concern regarding the efforts in both Delaware and New Jersey to challenge Congress' consistent and long-held prohibitions on sports wagering," the senators wrote to Holder. "While the efforts in these two states vary, they both threaten to greatly expand sports gambling and undermine the integrity of our national pastimes. We urge the Department of Justice to defend and enforce the existing federal prohibition against sports betting and take the necessary action to safeguard amateur and professional sports."

Joe Brennan Jr., iMEGA chairman, said in response, "While I respect and share the senators' desire to uphold the integrity of the games we love, the fact is their way - opposing state regulated sports wagering - leaves an estimated $380 billion sports wagering market out there unprotected, with no oversight, and at the mercy of criminal elements that are far more able to try to affect the outcome of a game than if the state stepped in and took the business away from them."

"The senators and the leagues can make their pronouncements about "integrity", and then stick their heads in the sand," Brennan said, "because that's the only vantage point from which the current unregulated marketplace is preferable to a state-regulated sports wagering market."

Links
Hatch/Kyl letter to US-AG Holder opposing sports betting law challenge (pdf format)

iMEGA, et al v. Holder - Federal PASPA Challenge

 

 

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