New Jersey’s tireless advocate for sports betting legalization wants the industry “out of the shadows.”
During a forum hosted by the International Centre for Sport Security, Rep. Frank Pallone said he believes the Congress would’ve already passed a law that will legalize such form of gambling, if not for “the sports leagues opposing sports betting.”
“This is a billion-dollar industry run by organized crime, and instead we’d like to see money generated through tax revenues that could go to state education, for instance,” Pallone said during the forum, according to NewJersey.com.
Online sports gambling are outlawed under the 1992 Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA), but Pallone has been working diligently to end PASPA’s despotic rule in his home state. Last January, the lawmaker reintroduced a bill that would have New Jersey offer full-fledged sports betting, just like Nevada.
Pallone has also been actively sparring with the major leagues—NFL, NBA, NHL, and MLB—and the NCAA, which have been preventing New Jersey’s racetracks and casino’s from offering sports betting.
However, these major leagues—some of whom have inked deals with daily fantasy sports sites FanDuel and DraftKings—started singing a different tune after Pallone called for an inquiry on the link between fantasy sports and gambling.
“They don’t seem to talk about the immorality of sports betting anymore,” Pallone said, according to the news outlet. “The reason they like fantasy sports is that they are invested in it and make money off it.”
Daily fantasy sports operate under the Unlawful Internet Gaming and Enforcement Act (UIGEA) carve out, which happened simply because fantasy sports didn’t exist at the time.
But as fantasy sports gain popularity—as seen by their recent ad blitz—Pallone wants to know why the leagues are OK with fans wagering on the performances of individual players, but are opposed to state-sanctioned gambling on the game’s outcome.
“What it has essentially done is carve out a way for the leagues and teams to do sports betting or gambling where they are the only ones that make any money,” the lawmaker said during the forum, according to NY Daily News.
The leagues are opposing gambling—legal or illegal—on claims that sports wagering will undermine the integrity of the games, even going so far as saying that players will be tempted to throw their games.
ICSS Executive Director Chris Eaton believes legalizing sports betting will remove organized crime from the industry.
“By pretending it isn’t happening, the government opens the door to corruption. The key is to regulate, monitor and bring sports betting out of the shadows,” Eaton said during the forum.