A coalition of sports betting industry stakeholders is planning a formal lobbying effort on Capitol Hill, potentially in early 2017, that will push for the expansion of legalized wagering. That was the biggest news from the American Gaming Association at a conference for media members on Thursday.
The AGA is leading the effort to shape the coalition and has made sports betting its signature initiative in recent months. On Thursday, the AGA cited the NHL’s decision to locate a franchise in Las Vegas as a major step in the evolution of American sports betting.
AGA senior VP of public affairs Sara Rayme said the association expects to build on what it sees as significant momentum for the expansion of legal sports wagering, and achieve that result in three to five years.
Even with sizable momentum, such a timetable is ambitious and could face an extensive, diverse set of hurdles, from the legislative to the litigious.
A central hurdle to the expansion of sports betting in America is the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, a 1992 federal law that prevents all but four states from offering some form of sports wagering.
A partial repeal or alteration of PASPA is likely the most direct way to expand sports betting. Gaming attorney Daniel Wallach, a shareholder with Becker & Poliakoff, characterized the federal law Thursday as, “hanging by a thread and waiting for a knockout blow.”
But amending PASPA could prove difficult. Congress is notoriously slow to act in general, let alone at altering existing law. But as a recent daily fantasy sports hearing on Capitol Hill illustrated, there’s a sizable education gap between stakeholders and legislators when it comes to even understanding the speed and technology of 21st century sports gambling.
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