Sen. John McCain Wants Congressional Debate On Legalizing Sports Betting
The ongoing debate on legalizing sports betting in the U.S. is gaining momentum by the day and 2015 could be the year that either ends the debate or opens a new era in the U.S. gambling market. As we have reported over the last few years sports betting already involves over 40 million U.S. and Canadian fans. The exact amounts that illegal sports betting generates varies anything from billions to over $400 billion.
The state of New Jersey has been the most vocal in their attempts to get legal sports betting up and running in the Garden State. Gov. Chris Christie has been in legal battles over the last few years in an attempt to get their Las–Vegas style sports betting legalized at the state casinos and racing tracks. He has been opposed by the major sporting bodies like the NBA, NCA, NFL and NHL who have until now successfully managed to halt Christie’s attempts. As we speak the case is headed for the Third Circuit Court of Appeal in the spring.
With the Super Bowl around the corner the issue of sports betting could not be more relevant as billions are being wagered. The latest prominent politician to come out in favor of debating the sports betting issue is Sen. John McCain. He gave an interview on ESPN’s Andy Katz and ABC’s Rick Klein in which he stated that “congress needs to hold hearings to discuss the legalization of sports betting.
Currently the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 is the main stumbling block to expanding sports betting in the U.S. which is currently only legal in four states. In reality it is only Nevada that allows single-games sports betting while Oregon, Montana and Delaware offer limited forms of sports betting.
McCain answered the question as to why Nevada is the only state allowed to offer sports betting at the moment by saying what many think. He said,” I think you’ve got an excellent point, and that’s why it’s an excellent issue.”
Like anyone in the know McCain is well aware that billions are already being wagered illegally without the government enjoying tax reveneus. Even according to the Nevada Gaming Board, there was over $3.9 billion wagered in 2014 at the state’s sports books. Given that this is only in one stat, so the estimates of up to $400 billion seem not that unrealistic. McCain is of course following former NBA Commissioner Adam Silver who recently called for sports betting to be “brought out of the underground and into the sunlight where it can be appropriately monitored and regulated.”