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Could sports betting in US be legalised under Trump presidency?

Sat, Nov 19, 10:23am by Staff Writer

Could the surprise the ascendancy of Donald Trump to the White House be the tipping point for the widespread legalisation of sports betting in the United States?

That’s the question that the gambling industry in the States is asking itself after Trump’s shock win earlier this month.

While Trump has made no comment about the liberalisation of sports betting laws either during his campaign or since being elected, the industry is hopeful it will have a sympathetic ear in Washington to lead change.

Geoff Freeman the President & CEO of the American Gaming Association (AGA) has said that it could be expected that Trump will be open to change.

“As President-elect Donald Trump has acknowledged, illegal sports betting is a thriving industry,” Freeman said.

“The 24-year-old federal ban –which is breathing life into a $150 billion illegal sports betting market — threatens the integrity of games, presents fundamental questions about states’ sovereignty to define their own laws and combat crime within their borders, and prevents fans from engaging with the sports they enjoy in a safe, legal way. The United States Supreme Court should consider New Jersey’s important claims and allow all states to address the serious problems associated with illegal sports betting.”

Regardless of Trump’s influence, federal legislation is set for review.

Currently, sports betting is only expressly legal in four states – Nevada, Delaware, Montana and Oregon – but the AGA estimated some $149 billion in illegal sports bets are placed annually.

While a recent attempt by New Jersey to legalise sports betting was defeated in the courts, there is growing support for legalisation from bodies such as the NBA.

Trump’s lone comment on the prospect of sports gambling being legalised came in an interview on Fox Sports last year.

“I’m OK with it, because it’s happening anyway,” Trump said. “Whether you have it or don’t have it, you have it. It’s all over the place.”

The relevant legislation, abbreviated to PASPA, is widely viewed as inadequate and key groups are lobbying for it to be changed.

The emergence of Daily Fantasy Sports as a pseudo sports gambling product has prompted further discussion of the need to change.

“DraftKings and FanDuel have sped up the debate on legalizing sports betting by demonstrating its popularity and mainstream nature,” AGA’s Sara Rayme said in a statement. “We’re building on the momentum created by DFS to remove the federal ban on sports betting.”

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