Lawmakers and League Officials Need Sports Betting Education

In the months leading up to the landmark Supreme Court ruling that lifted the federal ban on sports betting, there have been a lot of issues ranging from exorbitant tax rates to pro sports leagues asking for fees, a clear indication that a lot has to be done before the market stabilizes. For a long time, the gambling industry’s representatives have marveled at how the sports leagues especially the National Basketball Association (NBA) have made such tremendous strides towards finally accepting sports betting as a mainstream form of entertainment once they realized the inevitability of the United StatesS Supreme Court’s ruling.

During the September 27 sports betting hearing, the NFL demonstrated that there is certainly more that needs to be done in order to educate league leaders as well as the representatives of the Congress on how sports betting actually works. Presented by Jocelyn Moore, the NFL’s executive vice president of communication and public affairs, the testimony that was addressed to the House Judiciary subcommittee proved that the league’s officials still do not seem to get the fact the system that has been in place in Nevada does not need federal oversight to succeed. In fact, it has been flourishing so much that other states are clamoring to get a piece of the action with varying degrees of success.

The executive’s testimony, therefore, seemed to suggest that the NFL still has not come around to understanding the finer details of modern sports wagering. While she did not go as far as suggesting that the league should be paid an “integrity fee” like the NBA, she did propose certain forms of federal regulatory oversight that, if implemented, will definitely drive gamblers to illegal bookmakers.

“To address concerns regarding risky betting fixtures, we encourage Congress to allow professional and amateur sports organizations to identify which types of bets simply pose too significant a risk to the integrity of sports and to work with regulators not to authorize them,” Moore said.

Most, if not all, of the things that the NFL was asking for, have already been implemented in one way or the other. These range right from the wagering age limits which is already set to 21 in Nevada to the licensure and auditing requirements – clearly, they have never attended any state gaming control board’s licensing hearings or even sifted through the volumes of audit and tax records.

In summary, it should take an act of Congress or federal intervention for most of these things to work – this is a job for the American Gaming Association which also testified against the national sports betting regulation during the hearing. Meanwhile, the pro sports leagues and lawmakers need to do their homework and understand the concept of modern sports betting. There should be more than enough time for this since no more hearings are being planned at the moment.

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