U.S. House Judiciary Committee debates potential federal regulation of sports betting


On Thursday 27 September – more than 19 weeks after a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that the federal ban on sports betting (established by the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992) was unconstitutional – the U.S. House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security and Investigations held a 1½-hour long hearing on the potential for federal regulation of sports betting.

Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner, who chaired the hearing, described three potential future results of the hearing, namely:

  1. Congress to re-enact a federal ban on sports gambling
  2. Congress to defer to the states and allow them to legalize and regulate the sports gaming business
  3. Congress to adopt uniform, minimum federal standards, which would guide the imposition of sports wagering across the nation, in states that desire to legalize the practice.

Although the hearing was merely the first step in examining whether federal oversight is needed, in a closing comment interpreted by some as an indication that federal action may be forthcoming, Congressman Sensenbrenner added: “I think the one thing you all can agree on is for Congress to do nothing is the worst possible alternative. So this means we have some work to do”.

Two reports on the hearing by SBC Americas – entitled “Judiciary Committee hears evidence at post-PASPA sports betting hearing” and “Industry puts its case for state oversight of U.S. sports betting” can be downloaded below. A YouTube video of the complete hearing can be viewed here (but be patient as it begins about 3½ minutes in!)