By Flint Wheeler
With Trump It’s A Strong Possibility.
Legalized sports betting might expand over the next four years as President-elect assumes the White House and the Republican Party controls both chambers of Congress.
That’s according to R Street Institute, a public policy think tank in Washington, DC, that largely promotes conservative and libertarian ideas.
R street believes Trump’s long history in gambling could entice the future 45th president of the United States to back legislation to legalize sports betting on the federal level.
“While not as successful as international casino magnates Steve Wynn or Sheldon Adelson, Trump has no record of moral opposition to gambling as business,” R Street author Steve Titch explains. “There’s no reason to believe that expanding prohibition is on his agenda, or that he would be opposed to greater liberalization, especially if it can create or increase revenue streams for his economic agenda.”
R Street might sound familiar to online gaming observers due to the agency’s Executive Director Andrew Moylan. During the first hearing of the Restoration of America’s Wire Act (RAWA) in April of 2015, Moylan was one of the lone voices opposed to the anti-online gaming bill.
“RAWA’s potential overreach in failing to exempt intrastate activity is unwise,” Moylan said at the time.
Not So Easy Street
In his reasoning why Trump might be the perfect president to legalize sports betting, Titch opines that both states and federal governments will continue to need to find new sources of revenue.
And with Congress controlled by Republicans, the party that despises nothing more than tax increases, gaming expansion could be the ticket.
But for legalized sports betting to reach its full potential, the lines would need to be offered online and through mobile devices. That creates more difficult hurdles.
In fact, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (R) sat on R Street’s legislative advisory board while he was a member of the Texas State Senate.
Paxton recently joined nine other state attorneys general in signing a letter to Trump and Vice President-elect Mike Pence that urges the future Oval Office occupants to support legislation to restore the Wire Act and ban all forms of internet gaming.
All Things Must PASPA
The Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (PASPA) limits sports betting to Nevada, Oregon, Delaware, and Montana. The four named states were granted such privileges since they all had some sort of legalized sports betting when the law was passed. Today, only Nevada takes advantage of the carve out and offers traditional sports betting lines.
PASPA’s repeal is gaining momentum. Perhaps in part due to the rise of daily fantasy sports (DFS), the number of supporters of ending sports betting prohibition is growing.
Last month, five states joined New Jersey in asking the US Supreme Court to consider the August ruling of the Third Circuit Court of Appeals that stayed PASPA.
New Jersey believes it should have the right to offer sports betting if the majority of Garden State residents want in on the game. It’s unclear when the Supreme Court might decide if it’s going to take on the case.