Senators Chuck Schumer, Orrin Hatch Introduce Federal Sports Betting Bill

Six months after the United States Supreme Court struck down the 1992 federal ban on sports wagering outside Nevada, a pair of U.S. senators have introduced a new bill that would regulate sports betting nationwide.

Democratic Sen. Charles Schumer of New York and Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah on Wednesday introduced the “Sports Wagering Market Integrity Act of 2018,” which would have the U.S. Justice Department set “minimum standards” that states would have meet in order to authorize legal sports betting within their borders.

​There are currently seven states that have legalized sports wagering — DelawareMississippi, New Jersey, Nevada, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, West Virginia, sports betting. Those states would still be allowed to offer it while the Justice Department evaluates their laws. And many more are lining up to legalize in 2019.

As for procedure, the bill says that states would be required to “…request approval to administer a state sports wagering program … and submit an application to the Attorney General at such time, in such manner, and accompanied by such information as the Attorney General may require.”

Requirment for a payemtn to professional leagues, known as the controversial “integrity fee,” does not appear not in the bill. However, the bill would mandate that sports wagering operators purchase “authorized data” provided or licensed by the leagues, in order to grade wagers placed at licensed sportsbooks.

“As a lifelong sports fan, I treasure the purity of the game,” Schumer said in a statement. “After the Supreme Court ruling, 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.”

The bill also proposes the creation of two new federal bodies, a National Sports Wagering Clearinghouse and National Sports Wagering Commission. The National Sports Wagering Clearinghouse would collect anonymized sports betting data in real-time, including the amount and type of wagers, date and time in which the bet was accepted, where it was placed and the outcome. The goal of the clearinghouse would be to monitor for any unusual betting patterns, a potential sign of corruption.

“I began working with stakeholders to ensure we were doing everything possible to protect the integrity of sports from corruption,” Hatch said. “The legislation we’ve introduced today is the culmination of eight months of high-level meetings, discussions, and negotiations, and will serve as a placeholder for the next Congress, should they decide to continue working to address these issues.”

However Hatch, one of the orignal architects of the federal ban, is retiring at the end of the year. He said in a statemetn “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.”

In other words, nothing will happen imminently and in 2019, the House of Represenatives changes to control by the Democratic Party, which we suspect has priorities that do not include regulating sports betting.

What is the potential impact of this proposed bill to sports bettors, if it were to ultimately pass? Hard to say at this point but it could potentially slow the introduciton of legal sports betting in states that have not yet legalized, if they are required to go through the feds for clearance.

Congress can’t agree on much these days, so what are the odds they can agree on sports betting regulation? Probably about the same as the Browns winning the Super Bowl this year. Don’t hold your breath on sports betting being federally regulated anytime soon. 

About the Author

  • Thomas Casale (tcasale)

  • Thomas Casale is the Editor of Sports Betting Content for RotoGrinders. He's been following the sports betting industry for almost 30 years. Before coming to RotoGrinders, Thomas contributed to The Linemakers and worked as an editor at BetChicago. He's also provided fantasy sports analysis for multiple websites and print publications, while covering the NFL, college football, college basketball and MMA at different media outlets.