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Bill Miller, the president and CEO of the American Gaming Association (AGA), says Congress must act to better protect legal sports betting markets.
In an op-ed published in The Hill, Miller says additional resources at the federal level are needed to further eradicate illegal underground sports betting. He’s also calling on tax changes to allow legal sportsbooks to more fairly compete with illicit bookmakers.
The US Supreme Court’s May 2018 decision to strike down the federal ban on sports betting had limited sports gambling everywhere except Nevada. The AGA estimated that $150 billion was bet underground each year. Today, sports betting laws have been passed in 27 states, plus DC, to regulate legal sports gambling.
Miller says $21 billion was bet legally in the US last year. While an impressive number, the nation’s chief gaming lobbyist says that indicates that there is still much work to be done to rid the country of unlawful bookies.
“While continued legalization is a big part of the solution, the right policy conditions are also essential for legal sportsbooks to effectively supplant the illegal market,” Miller opined.
Tax Revision, Criminal Resources
Miller is calling on Congress to create a tax environment that allows legal sportsbooks to keep more of their revenue. He calls out the federal excise tax, which is imposed on the sale of most goods and services, as one such item that needs to be removed.
The AGA president additionally says Congress should dedicate more resources and assistance to state law enforcement to help unearth undercover gaming.
Federal law enforcement must prioritize and provide additional resources to prosecute illegal bookmakers, while coordinating with state law enforcement and gaming regulators to ensure the sports betting market is safe for all consumers,” Mill stated.
“Three years after the PASPA decision, it’s clear there is an appetite among sports fans to wager legally on the games they love to watch. While legal sports betting’s success so far is worth celebrating, there’s more we must do to ensure we’re keeping it on the right track,” Miller concluded.
Plenty of Opponents
The Hill op-ed received much response. Miller’s opinion celebrating the first three years of legal sports betting outside Nevada was widely panned among readers.
“What a tragic headline,” read one comment. Miller titled his op-ed, “Legal Sports Betting Is Thriving — We Have to Work to Keep It That Way.”
Keep the gambling industry growing? Why? It produces nothing of value,” said one person.
Another commented, “One thing rarely talked about is how any form of compulsive gambling is as damaging to a family as any other destructive addiction.”
To his credit, Miller did highlight available resources in the gaming industry that are designed to combat potential gambling addictions the expansion of legal sports betting might incite.
“With the regulated market comes a commitment to fair play and payouts — and customers who can’t play responsibly always have access to whatever kind of help they need,” Miller said.
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