IAGA Summit Sports Betting panel session moderated by David Clifton

On 31 May at the 2017 IAGA International Gaming Summit in New York, David Clifton moderated the main conference panel session “Sports Betting: Time to Play the Trump Card?”, which had been previewed in G3 Global Games & Gaming Magazine.

The panellists were Dave Rebuck (Director of the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement), Dan Spillane (Senior Vice-President & Assistant General Counsel to the National Basketball Association), Joe Asher (CEO of William Hill U.S.) and Jake Marsh (Head of Integrity Operations, Perform Group).

David and the panellists covered some wide-ranging topics including:

  • the U.S. federal Professional & Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (“PASPA”) that makes it unlawful for a Government entity to authorise by law any form of gambling on real-life events (save for grandfather rights given to Nevada, Delaware, Oregon & Montana, being states with some form of sports betting offer in 1991)
  • the current state of the appeal lying with the U.S. Supreme Court in the litigation arising from the desire of the State of New Jersey to authorise legal sports betting within its borders, and the variety of influencing factors that have changed since 1992 when PASPA was enacted
  • the brief recently filed with the Supreme Court by the U.S.’s Acting Solicitor-General urging it not to hear the appeal on the ground that PASPA is not unconstitutional and is “a permissible exercise of Congress’s authority to regulate State activities”; an issue on which the Supreme Court has to decide by 26 June [NB see update below]
  • repercussions arising from the 2015 statement by the American Gaming Association (“AGA”) that “the scale of illegal sports betting business in the U.S. [has] made it clear that PASPA has failed to meet its aims” and its memo to President Trump’s transition team last year stating that “today, at least $150 billion a year is wagered illegally on sports betting in the U.S.”
  • concerns in relation to betting integrity, the potential for greater levels of match-fixing, consumer protection, gambling addiction and a comparison between sports betting and DFS
  • where sports betting will be permitted if the present federal ban is lifted or not enforced, when (if at all) that may happen and who will be the bookmakers of the future

The consensus of both the panel and the audience was that change is coming but it may be a minimum of 3 to 5 years before it happens. If any further information on this topic is required, please contact David – dc@cliftondavies.com

The IAGA Summit programme can be downloaded below.

UPDATE 1 (28 June 2017): On 27 June 2017, the U.S. Supreme Court confirmed that it would hear the appeal, giving New Jersey a chance to enforce its 2014 statute legalising betting at casinos and racetracks. The AGA has said: “We are pleased the Supreme Court appears to have responded favourably to our arguments as to why they should hear this case. And we are hopeful their engagement will provide further encouragement for Congress to take the steps necessary to create a regulated sports betting marketplace in the United States”.

UPDATE 2 (14 May 2018): On 14 May 2018, the US Supreme Court delivered a 6-3 ruling in which it determined that the federal ban on sports betting as established by the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (PASPA) is unconstitutional – see our report on this here

Download article PDF: 2017 IAGA conference program