Ranking Member Nadler Statement for a Hearing on Sports Betting in America
Washington, D.C. – Today, Congressman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Committee, delivered the following opening remarks during a Judiciary Committee hearing on sports betting in America:
“I commend the Subcommittee’s Chairman, Jim Sensenbrenner, and Ranking Member, Sheila Jackson Lee, for holding this hearing today on a topic that is important for Congress to examine because of recent developments in the law.
“In June, the Supreme Court ruled that the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, otherwise known as PASPA – which prohibited states from authorizing sports betting – violated the 10th Amendment to the Constitution. In response, several states have enacted laws to allow intrastate sports betting, joining Nevada, which had been grandfathered because it allowed heavily regulated sports betting prior to PASPA.
“Certainly, we should all acknowledge that there is already a huge volume of sports betting taking place in this country, whether or not it is allowed by law or regulated in any way. Varying estimates indicate that the level of illegal sports betting in the United States is between $50 billion and $200 billion.
“Whether it takes place through a local bookmaker, online through an offshore sports book, or in a state where it is legal and regulated, sports gambling has long been a part of our culture. In fact, betting actually serves to generate a substantial amount of interest in the sports themselves. We cannot simply prevent sports betting by enacting laws to prohibit it and pretend that it will go away.
“However, that is not to say that government does not have an interest in ensuring that such gambling is free of fraud and, as we say, ‘on the up and up.’ As more states enact laws to allow sports gambling within their borders, and seek to establish standards and regulatory frameworks to govern how it may take place, Congress should examine these issues involving the integrity of gaming and consumer protection. Today’s hearing is a good start.
“Before us today is a broad spectrum of witnesses who will testify, from each of their differing perspectives, concerning what is taking place, how it impacts our citizens and the professional sports leagues, and how sports betting is currently and most effectively regulated in some states.
“I suspect this will be the beginning of a conversation about these issues that we will continue as the situation evolves and as our country adapts to the post-PASPA legal framework.
“I look forward to our discussion today, and I yield back the balance of my time.”