By David Purdum
Jan. 12, 2016
Pennsylvania is joining the push to legalize sports betting in the United States.
Rep. Rob Matzie has introduced a resolution urging Congress to lift the federal ban on sports betting and allow states that have legalized casino gaming to offer sports betting through the licensed facilities.
“In order to protect the public and ensure the integrity of not only professional sports but the Commonwealth’s current licensed gaming industry, the Federal Government must adapt to changing perceptions of sports betting and allow states that offer legal forms of gambling to decide if licensing and regulating sports betting is in the best interest of its residents,” Matzie’s resolution states.
The Professional Amateur and Sports Protection Act of 1992 (PASPA) prohibits state-sponsored sports gambling in all but a handful of states. Nevada is the only state allowed to offer single-game wagering.
New Jersey has been challenging PASPA during a legal battle with major professional sports leagues and the NCAA for more than three years. An appeal hearing will be heard Feb. 17 in the Third Circuit Court of Appeals. If New Jersey prevails, it could clear the way for expanded legalized sports betting in the U.S.
NBA commissioner Adam Silver has come out in support of legalizing sports betting, and Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred has said the issue deserves “fresh consideration.” The NFL and NCAA, at least publicly, remain opposed to legalizing sports betting.
Matzie’s resolution cites a 2008 report conducted for the NBA’s board of governors that estimated that $325 billion to $400 billion is wagered on sports in the U.S. annually. Almost all of it takes place in unregulated markets through offshore sportsbooks and local unlicensed bookmakers. In 2014, $3.9 billion was wagered at Nevada’s legal sportsbooks.
The American Gaming Association estimates that nearly $145 billion was bet on sports in the U.S. last year and says that’s a “clear indication that the status quo is unsustainable.”
“AGA is leading efforts to coalesce law enforcement, sports leagues and other interested parties to consider effective approaches to protecting consumers and promoting the integrity of sports,” Sara Rayme, senior vice president, American Gaming Association, told ESPN.
California, New York, Indiana, South Carolina and Texas were among states to consider sports-betting legislation in 2015.
Original article: http://espn.go.com/chalk/story/_/id/14556982/penn-lawmaker-resolution-calls-congress-lift-ban-sports-betting