When the US Supreme Court put the power to regulate sports betting in the hands of the states, it was fundamentally undercutting the power of the US Congress and the the politicians in Congress didn’t like the action one bit. Now they’re making a last ditch effort to use the power of a lame duck Congress to undermine that Supreme Court decision and put that power back in the hands of the Feds. And as an aside, they’re looking to put a little extra cash in the pockets of the professional sports leagues. It all comes in the form of a bill titled, the Sports Wagering Market Integrity Act of 2018.

These potential threats to the US sports betting market come in the form of a bill sponsored by New York Democrat Chuck Schumer and anti-gambling stalwart and Utah Republican, Orrin Hatch. Under the terms of their bill, the Federal Government would set the basic regulations for sports betting. Those regulations also parrot talking points from professional sports leagues about sports betting’s supposed threat to the integrity of the game.

In a statement reported on by the Associated Press, Schumer described the supposed crisis facing the leagues by saying, “I knew that Congress had an obligation to ensure that the integrity of the games we love was never compromised. That is why I believe the time is now to establish a strong national integrity standard for sports betting that will protect consumers and the games themselves from corruption.”

Schumer and Hatch’s scheme also includes a few measures that require sportsbooks to purchase their data from the leagues. This is an effort to address the non-existent problem of game-fixing. Game-fixing is exceedingly rare and is usually ferreted out by regulated sports books when it happens.

The American Gaming Association properly described the measure as, “a solution in search of a problem.”

It’s worth noting that Hatch is retiring and also serves a district in which there are no legal forms of gambling.

All told, the bill stand almost no chance of passing, but Hatch hopes to leave it behind as a framework for other busybody politicians who want to regulate morality and hand out gifts to the professional sports leagues.


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