Pennsylvania Takes Major Step toward Legalizing Sports Betting

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Pennsylvania has taken a meaningful step toward bringing sports betting to their state casinos.

The Pennsylvania House Gaming Oversight Committee nearly unanimously approved a motion for outdated federal statute "PASPA" to be repealed.

The Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 limits sports betting to Nevada, Delaware, Oregon, and Montana.

As a result of the federal law, Nevada enjoys what many states view as an unfair monopoly over legal sports betting.

By allowing states to decide whether or not to allow sports betting in their backyards there is a potential for job creation, economic boost, tourism, not to mention granting what many Americans want: to be able to legally and safely place a bet on a sporting event.

Bill HB-619
The PA Committee voted 23-1 for bill HR-619 to proceed to the full house for a further vote (edit: now represented in HB-649), as was originally reported at

The bill is described on the Pennsylvania General Assembly website as follows:

"A Resolution urging the Congress of the United States to lift the Federal ban on sports betting and to allow states that authorize, license and regulate casino gaming, including the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, to legalize sports betting through its licensed facilities."

While the bill in and of itself would not give Pennsylvania a green light to offer sports betting, it is a major step toward prompting other states to seek for a repeal of PASPA and dial up the pressure on the US federal government.

US States in Pursuit of Sports Betting
Pennsylvania is not alone in their pursuit of legal sports betting. Sportsbook Review has extensively covered New Jersey's attempt to bring sports betting to Atlantic City casinos and interviewed NJ State Senator Raymond Lesniak at the start of this past NFL season on the state's legal battle.

What happened in New Jersey and now Pennsylvania will potentially influence other states to pull the trigger on supporting sports betting. SBR reported that Michigan is closely monitoring the New Jersey case.

Not all states are in favor. Texas Governor has said no sports betting as SBR reported in November of 2015.

Unlikely Helping Hand for Sports Betting
DraftKings and FanDuel have made millions taking full advantage of an exemption in another federal law (the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act or "UIGEA") which labels fantasy betting as games of skill vs. chance, like sports betting and poker. Many have taken the betting companies to task for their lack of regulation and oversight, which contributed to the alleged insider trading scandal that went viral a few months back.

Many feel that the impunity with which DraftKings and FanDuel and operate constitutes hypocrisy, considering that betting on the performance of athletes is seen as being awfully similar to betting on the outcome of a given game.

There are advocates and naysayers for fantasy betting as can be expected, but one benefit provided by the fantasy betting sites is that it helps reinforce the argument that Americans want to gamble and should be able to freely and legally bet on sports, whether through a traditional sportsbook or a daily fantasy site.

What happens in Pennsylvania and New Jersey may very well help expedite what many industry pundits agree is inevitable: state-run sports betting just like is offered in Nevada, and possibly in a neighborhood not far from you.

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