AGA to Schumer: 'Get Lost!'

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Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer (New York) is one of the most powerful men in Washington.  Currently serving as the Senate Minority Leader, Schumer has the potential to become Majority Leader if things don't go well for the Republicans this November. Schumer has also indicated he would like to see a federal framework created for sports betting in the United States.

Back in May, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that individual states can allow sports betting after decades of prohibition.  Each state would be in charge of setting its own laws and regulations.  Indeed it is quite a lesson in how state governments operate for those following the fast paced development.  Case in point, Mississippi, West Virginia and New Jersey were up and running with sportsbooks in time for the new NFL and College Football season.  For other states, it's not that easy.  Some have compacts with Tribal nations (Florida, New Mexico), others have complex laws requiring voters to decide on changes to law (Arkansas is trying to ram through a gambling expansion initiative this November), still others won't touch gambling with a 20 foot pole (Utah, Texas).

The American Gaming Association (AGA) on Thursday released a letter sent to Schumer's staff, insisting that state oversight is enough.  No need for the federal government involvement.

"AGA firmly believes that additional federal engagement is not warranted at this time," the letter firmly states in the first paragraph.

They added: Bringing sports betting activity into a transparent legal market, under state and tribal regulatory oversight, empowers law enforcement to tackle illegal gambling, provides essential consumer protection and better ensures bet and game integrity.  It will also create new American jobs and generate additional local, state and federal tax revenue.  This positive development is widely supported by the American public, gaming operators, law enforcement and policy makers who recognized that federal efforts to prohibit sports betting failed."

Translation: "Schumer go take a hike!"

Schumer announced on Aug. 29 his intention to study a federal legal framework in a memo originally released to ESPN.  The New York Senator backs a controversial "integrity fee" that benefits the leagues. notes that it is essentially "a royalty or a percentage of wagers to leagues — paid by sportsbooks — for bets place on their games."

While a few of the states have reviewed such an "integrity fee", none to date have adapted it.

- Aaron Goldstein,

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