Chuck Schumer Wants Federal Sports Betting, But PA Doing Fine On Its Own

Written By Marty Derbyshire on September 5, 2018 - Last Updated on August 9, 2022
Chuck Schumer

The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board  (PGCB) is busy dealing with the the first applications to open up sportsbooks in the state. However, at least one member of Congress is still suggesting there be a federal framework set up for for sports betting across the country.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer penned a memo last week suggesting the federal government step in to provide sports betting oversight and ensure:

  • Sportsbooks only use official league data
  • It is illegal for anyone under 21 to make a bet in any state
  • Sportsbooks do not target youth
  • The dangers of betting are properly disclosed
  • Sportsbooks report suspicious activity
  • Organizations share information regarding anything that compromises the integrity of games
  • Sports leagues aid in the determination of acceptable bets
  • The leagues are involved in monitoring

Schumer said protecting the integrity of sports in this country is his top priority:

“As a New York sports fan — especially my Yankees and Giants — and a senator, my priority in the wake of the Murphy v. NCAA decision is making sure the integrity of the games we love is preserved, that young people and those suffering from gambling addiction are not taken advantage of, and that consumers that choose to engage in sports betting are appropriately protected.

“With the Supreme Court’s ruling, it’s incumbent on the federal government to take a leadership role and provide the necessary guidance to prevent uncertainty and confusion for the leagues, state governments, consumers and fans alike.”

Legal sports betting spreads

Meanwhile, Delaware, New Jersey, West Virginia, and Mississippi have already launched legal sports betting. Pennsylvania also legalized the activity and PGCB has released temporary regulations aimed at governing the local market.

Penn National Gaming became the first PA casino license holder to apply for a $10 million PA sports betting license earlier this month. It plans to turn the horse racing simulcast theater at Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course into a sportsbook. William Hill US will manage the sportsbook.

Last month, Parx Casino owner Greenwood Gaming & Entertainment became the second PA casino license holder to apply for one of the state’s sports betting licenses.

It wants to offer sports betting at Parx Casino in Bensalem and the South Philadelphia Turf Club off-track betting facility in Philadelphia’s stadium district.

Additionally, Mount Airy Resort Casino announced it has a partnership with The Stars Group that includes launching its BetStars brand online sportsbook in PA. However, Mount Airy has not applied for a license just yet.

The state plans to tax sports betting revenue at a rate of 36 percent, the highest rate in the country.

Sports leagues push for federal oversight, AGA disagrees

All this has moved forward without federal oversight or anything near what Schumer is suggesting. However, major sports leagues have been lobbying to have a national framework set up.

The NBA, MLB and PGA Tour issued a joint statement Wednesday. It agreed there is a need for consistent, nationwide integrity standards. Plus, the leagues support the legislative framework outlined by Schumer.

The NFL and NCAA also issued a statement Wednesday. It said federal legislation can protect the integrity of sports.

However, the American Gaming Association (AGA), a national trade group representing the US casino industry, thinks differently.

The AGA also issued a statement. It said the AGA wants to preserve the integrity of sports and provide consumer protections. However, federal oversight failed to do so previously.

In fact, the AGA says the previous federal ban on sports betting in this country has only contributed to what is now a thriving illegal sports betting market. One with no consumer protections or safeguards in place.

It now says new federal mandates are a nonstarter. The industry and state governments are capable of ensuring sports betting is safe and sports’ integrity protected:

“The casino industry is working with stakeholders to ensure the proper protections for consumers, and the integrity of bets and sporting contests are included in state policy, universally implemented by all operators in those states, and overseen by effective state and tribal gaming regulators.”

PGCB regulations

The PGCB’s temporary regulations include rules to ensure the integrity and security of sports wagering.

This includes measures to ensure sportsbooks:

  • Adhere to responsible gambling practices
  • Prevent underage gambling
  • Use consistent and verified sports data

In other words, Pennsylvania is launching sports betting that protects the integrity of sports and consumers. However, it has done so without the federal oversight Schumer is pushing for.

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Marty Derbyshire

Martin Derbyshire has more than ten years of experience reporting on the poker, online gambling, and land-based casino industries for a variety of publications including Bluff Magazine, PokerNews, and PokerListings. He has traveled extensively, attending tournaments and interviewing major players in the gambling world.

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