Category Archives: Federal Policy

Unsurprisingly, Casino Lobby Joins New Jersey in Attempt to Sway Supreme Court in favor of Legalized Sports Betting

Casino Watch Focus has reported on the many attempts by New Jersey to legally allow sports betting in their state, despite federal law that makes it illegal. Every attempt made has resulted in the courts shutting down the illegal sports gambling. The case will finally be resolved one way or another later this year when the Supreme Court will examine the issue. The list of opponents of this expanded sports betting is long and includes all the major sports and collegiate organizations such as the NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL and the NCAA. Not surprisingly, the casino lobby is coming to the side of New Jersey and they have submitted a brief to the Supreme Court. The Washington Examiner reports: 

The American Gaming Association filed a brief on Tuesday supporting Republican New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie in his upcoming Supreme Court fight with top U.S. athletic leagues over sports betting. Christie’s team argues that federal law banning sports betting violates states protections under the 10th Amendment. More than two decades ago, New Jersey failed to take advantage of a window in federal law to run sports gambling, but then decided to do so on its own in 2011.

The National Collegiate Athletic Association challenged the New Jersey law, along with the NBA, NFL, NHL, and Major League Baseball. The Supreme Court has yet to set a date for oral arguments this term in the sports gambling case, which will be closely watched as its outcome could change sports gambling rules throughout the country.

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New Federal Sports Gambling Bill Emerges in Congressional Committee

Casino Watch Focus has reported on the many attempts of New Jersey to legalize sports betting. The reason all of their attempts have failed is because federal law prevents states from allowing sports betting under the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, the Wire Act, the Illegal Gambling Business Act and most recently, the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act. A new federal bill, if passed, would remove federal bans on certain gambling and allow the states to regulate them as they please, thus effectively legalizing sports betting for New Jersey and others if they so choose. An online source breaks down the Gaming Accountability and Modernization Enhancement Act (GAME Act):

The US Congress may consider a gambling bill that would annul a *federal gambling ban*. This, on the other hand, would allow the country to make any form of gambling legal and regulate it. 

[I]f the GAME Act is enacted, it would annul the 1992 federal law and would allow every state to separately add sports betting and online gaming to the gambling operations that are legal there. As explained above, *customer protection rules*, as well as rules about *taxation and regulations* are also implemented in the proposed piece of legislation.

Stakeholders are also allowed to give their feedback for the GAME Act. As it has already became clear, the American Gaming Association backed the legal expansion of sports betting operations. Other organizations, such as the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) do not support the bill. 

For more information on the dangers of gambling, please visit CASINO WATCH & CASINO WATCH FOUNDATION


Sports Betting Once Again Pursued by New Jersey, This Time with Far Reaching Gambling Expansion Ramifications

Casino Watch Focus has reported on the ongoing efforts to expand sports gambling in area’s outside of Las Vegas, with New Jersey being the state at the forefront. Over many years they have tried several approaches to pass legislation to allow sports betting, but beyond just the opposition from the major sports leagues like the NFL, NBA, MLB and NHL, existing federal law has kept the issue at bay. The last failed attempt was legislation that essentially said New Jersey would simply not enforce the federal law, but that effort was struck down by an federal court. Now, the Third Circuit court has granted a very rare opportunity for the New Jersey law to be reexamined. ESPN explains:

New Jersey has an “incredibly rare” opportunity Wednesday to defeat the nation’s most powerful sports leagues and win the right to offer legal, Las Vegas-style sports betting. An hour long rehearing is scheduled for 11 a.m. ET Wednesday at the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia to determine whether New Jersey’s Sports Wagering Law, signed by

Governor Chris Christie in Oct. 2014, violates a 25-year-old federal law prohibiting state- sponsored sports betting. The NCAA, NFL, NBA, NHL and Major League Baseball have sued the governor to prevent it from happening. The leagues have won every step of the way, including in August, when a three-judge panel at the 3rd Circuit ruled against New Jersey in a 2-1 majority decision. But legal authorities say the 3rd Circuit’s granting of a rehearing en banc (in front of all judges) is a sign that Wednesday may be New Jersey’s best shot of the entire saga. Since March 2010, the Third Circuit has granted a rehearing en banc just 19 times.

The impact of this particular case won’t simply impact New Jersey. Many states have interest in sports betting expansion. Additionally, there are potential Daily Fantasy Sport implications as well. ESPN continues:

Legal experts say the decision is extremely close. The outcome will have widespread ramifications in other states. Last week, Pennsylvania passed a resolution asking Congress to repeal PASPA, and several states have considered sports betting bills that would put them in position to offer sports betting should the federal statute be repealed. The ruling also could have an impact on the ongoing legal controversy surrounding daily fantasy sports. Several state attorneys general have stated that daily fantasy is a form of sports gambling. Some states are attempting to pass legislation that creates a licensing scheme for daily fantasy sports. The NBA, NHL and MLB all own equity in daily fantasy sports sites, and 28 NFL teams have advertising deals with daily fantasy companies. “Once daily fantasy sports are deemed to be a type of gambling, then I don’t know how you reconcile that with PASPA,” said Dan Etna, a co-chair of New York firm Herrick’s Sports Law Group, who has tracked the New Jersey case and daily fantasy sports.

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As Daily Fantasy Sports Industry Comes Under Fire, Even Draftkings and FanDuel Acknowledge Dangers as They Call for Gov Regulation and Implement Problem Gambling Safeguards

Casino Watch Focus has reported on the new Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) industry, including the recent realization that at its core, its gambling, and that when left unregulated or banned, its leading to online scandals and wide spread investigation, including from the FBI and US Attorney General.  Recently, New York investigated the practice of daily fantasy sports and quickly reached a ruling that its illegal, which lead to the attorney general’s office to issue a cease and desist order to DraftKings and FanDuel.  The Washington Post explains:

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman found daily fantasy sites DraftKings and FanDuel in violation of the state’s gambling laws and sent both companies cease-and-desist letters to stop accepting payments – “wagers,” in his words – from New York residents.

The leagues that profit from it may be up next. Questioned about the leagues’ responsibility regarding daily fantasy, a spokesman in the New York attorney general’s office declined to comment, but did not rule out that it was an area of focus in the investigation.

The NBA, MLB, NFL and NHL all operate out of Manhattan. Just as MLB owns a little piece of DraftKings, the NBA owns a small percentage of FanDuel. The NHL shares an extensive marketing agreement with DraftKings. The NFL has attempted to keep the companies at arm’s length, but multiple team owners are heavily invested in both companies, and the league’s network partners draw massive advertising dollars from both of the daily fantasy titans.

Beyond just the individual state level, it’s rumored that the Department of Justice will outlaw DFS by the end of the year.  Following the recent insider trading type scandal between FanDuel and Draft Kings, and perhaps seeing the writing on the wall, FanDuel CEO called for government regulation.  The Wall Street Journal explains:

Nigel Eccles, who founded FanDuel in 2009, said Thursday that intervention by state governments is the only way to ensure consumers can trust the fantasy sports industry, which is facing a federal criminal probe and scrutiny by state regulators.

He said a plan announced this week by the industry’s trade group to police itself with an outside control board is positive but doesn’t go far enough. “Consumers want a higher level of protection,” he said in an interview. “They need to know it’s fair, that the information is protected. If the consumer doesn’t trust the industry than the business doesn’t exist.”

The most telling move though, just recently, and somewhat quietly, happened by DraftKings.  They have started a program familiar to problem gamblers that the gambling industy refers to as a self-exclusion list.  It’s a clear sign that they understand the dangers involved and it’s as close to an outright admission that the industry is simply gambling as you might expect.  Self-exclusion lists aren’t always an effective tool, but, but the addition is a clear signal what type of product is being pushed.  A regional online Boston website explains:

As it fends off comparisons to illegal gambling operations, Boston-based daily fantasy sports company DraftKings now offers a system familiar to many legal gambling businesses: a self-exclusion option, which allows users to deactivate their accounts for periods ranging from three months to five years. On a new responsible gaming section of its website, DraftKings presents the self-exclusion policy as a way to prevent addictive gaming.

DraftKings has resisted gambling comparisons in the U.S., arguing its games are valid under federal and most states’ gaming laws. But self-exclusion is common in the gambling industry, and its usage appears to be an acknowledgment by DraftKings that its users could be susceptible to the same kind of addictive play.

Les Bernal, the national director of the Washington, D.C.-based organization Stop Predatory Gambling, dismissed self-exclusion options as a “sham.” “The whole idea of somebody who’s an addict is the absence of free will. How does somebody who’s an addict exercise their free will?” Bernal said. “It’s a gimmick that’s not meant to protect the player. It’s meant to give the appearance of concern by Internet gambling companies like DraftKings.”

Self-exclusion can be helpful to gambling addicts who have already recognized they have a problem, but it does little to help those who have not reached that point of self-awareness, said Krystle Kelly, the director of development and communications at the Massachusetts Council on Compulsive Gambling. “As a standalone, if that’s the only thing they’re doing to acknowledge this could be a gambling problem, I don’t think this is going to be very effective,” Kelly said. “If all of this negative attention did create these controls, I think that’s a good thing. I think that’s a step in the right direction. But I think there probably needs to be more work done to address high-risk populations.”

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American Gaming Association No Longer Supports Online Gambling

Casino Watch Focus has been reporting on the ongoing and continual efforts of both states and the federal government to advance gambling expansion through online gambling.  The most common form of online gambling at hand is online poker.  There is still no uniform federal legislation that allows online gambling, poker or other wise and thus far, only a handful of states have experimented this past year with more local legislation designed to allow online gambling.  Efforts to advance online gambling isn’t just from independent, online only type companies, but also from brick and mortar casino companies.  As time has passed on the issue, opposition has not only come from sources completely free of gambling profit, like anti-gambling organizations, but also from infighting from those who could benefit financially from such online gambling expansion.  As a result, the industries top lobbying group has taken an official position to oppose online gambling.  An online source explains:

The casino industry’s top lobbying group on Capitol Hill will no longer be in support of online gambling in the United States.

The American Gaming Association’s CEO Geoff Freeman has told The Wall Street Journal that his group cannot continue pushing the issue, citing the casino industry becoming sharply divided over web gambling as the reason.

The AGA has dozens of members, including some of the industry’s titans. Caesars Entertainment, Boyd Gaming, MGM Resorts and Las Vegas Sands all belong to the AGA.

Sands owner Sheldon Adelson has pledged to spend vast sums of money to try to ban online gambling nationwide, or at the very least slow its spread to additional states. Just Nevada, Delaware and New Jersey have legal, and operational, online gambling of some kind.

Right now, there is legislation in Congress that attempts to ban online gaming, as well as legislation that attempts to legalize it. Both are considered long-shots.

For more information on the dangers of gambling, please visit CASINO WATCH & CASINO WATCH FOUNDATION


Rep. Peter King Introduces Online Gambling Bill; Sen. Harry Reid Objects

Casino Watch Focus has reported on the many attempts to pass federal online gambling legislation.  Most attempts have centered around online poker and Sen. Harry Reid has led the way.  Casino Watch Focus reported that this year’s attempt would not come from Sen. Harry Reid, but rather Rep. Peter King.  His bill has now been introduced, but goes beyond legalizing online poker.  An online political source explains:

Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) introduced legislation on Thursday that would legalize online gambling.

The Internet Gambling Regulation, Consumer Protection and Enforcement Act of 2013 would establish a federal regulatory regime for online gaming.

King’s bill comes after a 2011 Justice Department ruling that the Wire Act only banned online betting on sports, a decision that led many states to move forward with legalizing Internet gambling.

State officials and lotteries have resisted legislation that could hinder states’ authority over gambling. A similar “opt-out” measure was included in Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s (D-Nev.) online poker bill last year but did not win over critics from state governments.

Sen. Harry Reid does not support this legislation.  He is working with Sen. Dean Heller on yet another online poker bill and believes King’s bill will not get any traction as it undermines his and other pro online poker advocates.  An online source reports:

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid believes that a bill proposed by New York Congressman Peter King to legalize online gambling at the federal level undermines the efforts of Web poker advocates.

In an interview with the Las Vegas Sun, Reid says that King’s bill would authorize just about everything with little oversight.

“(It) basically authorizes everything – 21, poker, everything,” Reid said.

“I felt for several months now that I don’t see any movement on this,” Reid said. “I don’t see anything happening.”

Other online poker bills are expected to be filed at the federal level this year.  Stay tuned to Casino Watch Focus for updates and for more information on the dangers of gambling, please visit CASINO WATCH & CASINO WATCH FOUNDATION.


New Federal Online Gambling Bill to be Introduced

Casino Watch Focus has reported on the many ongoing attempts to overturn UIGEA and pass federal legislation to allow federal internet gambling.  Time and time again, these federal attempts have failed and federal online gambling has remained illegal.  States have been working to allow online gambling in their jurisdiction after an Obama Administration ruling opened the door and Nevada has been pushing the envelope. Now it appears that a new federal bill is being introduced, but this time by someone other than Senators Harry Reid and Jon Kyl.    An online source explains:

Despite the fact that many states are beginning to pass legislation which will allow online poker <http://www.4flush.com/online-poker>  and gambling options in the individual states, gamblers would still like to see federal legislation passed so the option can be made available nationwide.

Last year, Senators Harry Reid and Jon Kyl tried to pass federal legislation for the but could not gain enough steam to see the bill move. Now, Peter King, a Representative of New York State, has announced that he is creating a new federal online gaming bill.

Nevada has already launched online poker options with the start of Ultimate Poker and Delaware and New Jersey are on their way to offering online gambling options in the their respective states very soon. California and Pennsylvania are also in discussions for legislation and as more states begin to allow the option, even more states get in on the action.

For more information on the dangers of gambling, please visit CASINO WATCH & CASINO WATCH FOUNDATION