The year 2017 was one in which both the US and the global sports betting industry had their eyes on a potentially lucrative development: the legalisation of sports betting across New Jersey and other states in the country. While the prize is yet to materialise, New Jersey's current case at the US Supreme Court has the potential to make it a reality in 2018, which in turn would potentially change the betting world forever.
The state's congressman Frank Pallone has revealed a revolutionary gambling bill that could change the face of sports betting in the United States, in the event of the High Court voting yes in the favour of the New Jersey case. While the outcome of the process could come at any time between 22 January and 29 June 2018, Pallone's gambling bill has left industry analysts confident of a big win!
New Jersey's Democratic Congressman, Frank Pallone, first revealed his plans to shake up the US sports betting industry during 2017 – via the concept of the Gaming Accountability and Modernisation Enhancement Act (GAME Act). Fundamentally, the Act would give New Jersey the right to offer gamblers legal sports betting products, with scope for other states to follow suit.
At its heart, the GAME Act would overturn the current power of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA). Pallone's proposition would decriminalise sports gaming activity under civil liability and federal law, while protecting bettors by ensuring that states implement sufficiently safe mechanisms to prevent problem gambling and ensure the integrity of companies in the industry.
Pallone's Act highlights a range of protection methods, designed to create a fair and reputable sports betting industry across New Jersey and the US at large. The measures proposed include strict conditions for the licensing of gambling companies, financial transparency, player age and logistics verification, tax adherence, privacy integrity and a focus on the prevention of fraud and gambling addiction in sports betting.
The GAME Act bill proposes that any gambling company wishing to offer sports betting products to American gamblers would need to apply via the Federal Trade Commission, which would thoroughly audit applications and thus control the integrity of the industry within each state. The bill also has a futuristic understanding of betting and wagering, outlining the inclusion of cryptocurrency and virtual item betting – inclusive of lottos, sports betting, e-sport and fantasy gaming.
Since proposing the GAME Act bill, Pallone has been vocal in his quest to instill it in the consciousness of the US Supreme Court and gambling authorities. In December, the congressman spoke at an event held at Monmouth Park Casino in New Jersey, telling the audience that gambling legislation in America is about honouring the concept of the 'land of the free'.
"This is an issue of fairness. New Jersey, and every other state for that matter, should have the same opportunity to proceed with sports betting and online gaming that has been allowed in some states."
Pallone reaffirmed his position in the debate, stating that:
"The citizens of New Jersey overwhelmingly support legalised sports betting and acted in a referendum to show that support. Both Congress and the Supreme Court should respect these actions and allow places like Monmouth Park to take part in sports betting."
While the betting industry and gamblers in the US will have to wait for the Supreme Court's NJ decision – which could happen anytime between now and July – hopes are high for a 'moral victory'. Indeed, many big players in the industry, such as online bookmaker William Hill, have been negotiating fiercely over the past year to try and establish strong sports betting roots in the US.
Similarly, Jay Rood, the Vice President of Race and Sports at MGM International, was full of confidence last November when he revealed the company's plans to develop New Jersey's first sportsbook establishment at a projected cost of $7 million. Many other major gambling companies have been working hard to place themselves into strong positions, to immediately start reaping the rewards of sports betting revenue.
While the Supreme Court could still quash New Jersey's charge for sports betting freedom, the inside money seems to be backing a favourable verdict, judging by the number of big players in the industry gearing up for a 'yes'. Ultimately, should the authorities open the barriers to sports betting across the US, Democratic congressman Frank Pallone will be seen as one of the great liberators of gambling in the modern era!