Today, US Senators Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Chuck Schumer (D-NY) introduced the Sports Wagering Market Integrity Act of 2018. The bipartisan legislation would put in place world-class safety measures to protect consumers, preserve the integrity of sporting events, and ensure the propriety of the sports wagering market.
"As I wrote in Sports Illustrated earlier this year, sports betting is inevitable -- so let's make sure it's done right," said Hatch. "This bill is the first step toward ensuring that sports betting is done right in the states that choose to legalize it. Just as importantly, it provides protections for states that choose not to go down that path. For the better part of this year, I have engaged with and learned from stakeholders on all sides of this issue -- the gaming industry, professional and amateur sports leagues, consumer advocates, data providers, law enforcement, and many others. The result of those discussions is a comprehensive bill that tackles numerous, complex issues and includes provisions to protect the interests of each of those stakeholders. I am pleased that the Minority Leader has joined me in introducing this legislation, confirming that while this may not be an easy issue, it is a bipartisan one. There is much work to be done, but I hope this bill will serve as a placeholder for the next Congress, should they decide to continue working to address these issues."
"As a lifelong sports fan I treasure the purity of the game, and after Murphy v. NCAA, I knew that Congress had an obligation to ensure that the integrity of the games we love was never compromised," said Schumer. "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. The bipartisan legislation that Senator Hatch and I have introduced, follows the principles laid out in the federal framework that I released in August and will serve as solid foundation upon which we build the appropriate guardrails around the burgeoning sports betting industry. I will strongly advocate for this bill to move forward and for Congress to vote to pass federal legislation very soon."
Statements of Support
Jocelyn Moore, National Football League Executive Vice President: (click here for full NFL letter)
"The Sports Wagering Market Integrity Act reaffirms the long-standing commitment of Congress to protecting the integrity of American athletics. We appreciate the bipartisan leadership demonstrated by Senators Hatch and Schumer in bringing forth this commonsense legislation, and we urge its swift enactment."
Keith Whyte, Executive Director of the National Council on Problem Gambling:
"The National Council on Problem Gambling thanks Senator Orrin Hatch and Senator Chuck Schumer for their leadership in addressing problem gambling. Using revenue from the existing sports wagering excise tax, this bill provides the first-ever Federal funding dedicated to gambling addiction prevention, research and treatment programs. NCPG believes these measures are a great first step to addressing problem gambling across the country. These essential programs will improve public health and wellness by reducing the personal, social and economic costs of gambling addiction."
National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA):
"With legalized sports wagering, the NCAA's main priorities are protecting student-athletes well-being and the integrity of competition. Because of this, we applaud the bipartisan support of Senators Hatch and Schumer in proposing the federal sports wagering legislation. Federal standards are needed to promote a safe and fair environment for the nearly half a million students who play college sports."
Gordon A. Smith, United States Tennis Association CEO and Executive Director (click here for full USTA letter):
"Based on our experience with and understanding of sports wagering abroad, the USTA supports a federal, holistic approach to regulating sports wagers, and uniform cooperation and regulation with state gaming regulators and betting operators, as well as robust education and regulations for athletes and others affiliated with these sporting events. The proposed federal sports wagering bill, if enacted, would significantly aid sports organizations in maintaining the integrity of sport. We applaud the introduction of this bill and stand ready to work with you to advance this important legislation."
Russell Moore, President of the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission:
"The proliferation of sports gambling in this country in the wake of Murphy v. NCAA should trouble anyone who cares about families, those dealing with gambling addiction, and the vulnerable. Congress must take action to rein in this exploding industry. This bill is a good first step to protect families and the vulnerable from the deceit of sports gambling."
Senator Hatch was one of four original authors of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992, created to protect the integrity of athletics from taint or corruption. He released a statement earlier this year when the Supreme Court ruled to change the legislation that has limited state-sanctioned sports betting for over two decades. Click here for more information.
In May, Senator Hatch wrote an op-ed in Sports Illustrated that outlined his goal of protecting the integrity of sports. Click here for the full article.
In August, Senator Hatch spoke on the Senate floor about his efforts to develop sports betting legislation. Click here for video and speech text.
In August, Senator Schumer proposed a federal framework to protect consumers and the integrity of sports.
The Sports Wagering Market Integrity Act of 2018
On May 14, 2018, the Supreme Court in Murphy v. NCAA struck down the federal prohibition of state-authorized sports wagering schemes. Since the decision in Murphy, seven states have joined Nevada in accepting sports wagers, with more than two dozen other states considering legislation to legalize sports wagering.
States historically have regulated other forms of gaming with little intervention by the federal government. But the interstate nature of most sports wagering and the thriving, transnational illegal market demand the attention of the federal government to establish consistent standards for sports wagering regulators and to provide law enforcement with additional authorities to target the illegal sports wagering market and bad actors in the growing legal market.
The Sports Wagering Market Integrity Act of 2018 would:
Prohibit the acceptance of sports wagers, with exceptions for social gambling and states that meet certain minimum standards;
Permit states to authorize online sports wagering to provide a regulated alternative to the illegal, offshore market;
Prohibit sports wagers on amateur sporting events except the Olympics and college sports;
Establish to request restrict certain sports wagers when necessary to protect contest integrity;
Prohibit sports wagering by individuals younger than 21; athletes, coaches, officials, and others associated with sports organizations; and individuals convicted of certain federal crimes related to sports wagering;
Require that sports wagering operators use data provided or licensed by sports organizations to determine the outcome of sports wagers through 2024, and set requirements for data used thereafter;
Establish a national self-exclusion list;
Put in place a variety of consumer protections, including disclosure, advertising, and reserve requirements;
Establish recordkeeping and suspicious transaction reporting requirements;
Update existing casino anti-money laundering laws to include sports wagering operators;
Provide a process whereby states may compact with each other to permits interstate sports wagering;
Designate a non-profit National Sports Wagering Clearinghouse to, inter alia, receive and share anonymized sports wagering data and suspicious transaction reports among sports wagering operators, state regulators, sports organizations, and federal and state law enforcement;
Dedicate revenue from the existing sports wagering excise tax to law enforcement and programs for the prevention and treatment of gambling disorder;
Update the Wire Act to permit certain interstate sports wagers, while also providing additional enforcement authorities such as a state cause of action and a new mechanism for the Department of Justice to target unlicensed, offshore sports wagering websites;
Expand the Sports Bribery Act to cover extortion and blackmail, prohibit sports wagers based on nonpublic information, and strengthen whistleblower protections; and
Provide additional authorities to the Department of Health and Human Services to prevent, monitor, and treat gambling addiction.