In Congress on Thursday, a draft of comprehensive legislation that would allow states to legalize online gambling was unveiled by the House Energy and Commerce Committee.
ESPN reports that the aim of the legislation entitled, the Gaming Accountability and Modernization Enhancement Act or GAME Act, is to repeal the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (PASPA), the federal ban on sports betting. And to provide an outline of consumer protections necessary for states to have in place so that they can offer legal sports betting, including fantasy sports and operators such as FanDuel and DraftKings.
The Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (PASPA), restricts betting on professional and college sports games in all but four states including Delaware, Montana, Nevada and Oregon, and only Delaware, Nevada, and New Jersey allow online gambling. Section 8 of the GAME Act would repeal PASPA.
Forging the way for the GAME Act legislation is Rep. Frank Pallone (D – NJ), who has advocated for the repeal of the federal prohibition. Pallone is also responsible for writing a letter asking Jeff Wall, the Acting Solicitor General, to request that the Supreme Court take up the ongoing sports betting case in New Jersey. In 2014 the state passed a law to allow sports betting, but due to legal challenges, the law has yet to take effect. The plaintiffs in the case are the U.S. Department of Justice, the NFL, NBA, NHL, MLB, and the NCAA, which in August of 2015 sued in order to halt the state’s plan to allow sports betting on individual games. To date, the courts, have ruled that the New Jersey law allowing sports betting is in violation PASPA.
In a statement announcing the legislation, Pallone said, “Despite the federal gaming laws in place today, Americans are betting up to $400 billion a year on sporting events alone. He added, “It’s time to recognise that the laws are outdated, and the GAME Act will modernise them by increasing transparency, integrity, and consumer protections.”
As written, the GAME Act would require sports betting operators to submit proof to the Federal Trade Commission of their compliance with offering the required consumer protection. Safeguards for data security, a method of verifying age and location, and means of recourse for consumers are among the protections the GAME Act addresses, according to the report.
In addition to New Jersey, where on Monday a bill, A 3532, that would regulate and tax daily fantasy sports (DFS) was approved by New Jersey‘s Democrat-led Assembly, Michigan, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and New York are among the other states to introduce sports betting legislation this year.