Will A Trump Presidency Mean A Move Toward Legalized Sports Betting?

Posted By Corey Goldberg on December 29, 2016 - Last Updated on December 28, 2016

[toc]Regardless of how you may feel about President-elect Donald Trump and his long-shot rise to the United States’ highest political office, there may be a silver lining for gamblers.

Donald Trump’s win has given hope to those who have been struggling to legalize sports betting in the US.

Why would Trump support sports betting?

Trump will be the first president that has ever owned a casino and as such, many who are involved in the gambling industry are looking forward to seeing how Trump will deal with the three major legislative issues that affect the profitability of casino ventures the most:

  1. Online gambling
  2. Sports betting
  3. Daily fantasy sports

Already, the American Gaming Association has asked Trump for a crackdown on illegal gambling, fewer regulations, tax reform, and immigration policies that won’t negatively impact overseas gamblers from patronizing US casinos. But the biggest thing on their wish list, this year, is the legalization of sports betting.

Trump has yet to clarify his position on the sports betting issue, but in a recent interview with Fox Sports Radio host Colin Cowherd, his reply appeared promising.

“Are you pro- or anti- fantasy [sports] and gambling?” Cowherd asked.

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

Back in 1993 when the Donald spoke to an NBC reporter in New Jersey about reforming the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (PASPA), he said, “It’s vital to keeping your taxes low, it’s vital to the senior citizens, and it’s vital to putting the bookies out of business. Everybody wants it, we do polls showing 80 percent in favor.”

What laws would have to change?

If we are to see a nationwide legalization of sports betting, the two federal laws that are the most relevant are the Interstate Wire Act of 1961 and PASPA.

PASPA is the biggest roadblock for the gaming industry’s efforts at this point and recently has been spotlighted due to the rise of daily fantasy sports contests. But if PASPA were to be repealed, the Wire Act would need to be eliminated as well because it applies to online gambling.

[show-table name=cta-golden-nugget]

Advantages of legalized sports betting in the US

The AGA estimates that $90 billion will be bet this year on football games alone and that 98 percent of those bets will be made illegally.

A recent AGA study using Nielsen data also concluded that the number of sports viewers that bet on games would rise by 36 percent of the NFL’s audience if sports betting were legalized.

What stands in the way of sports betting legislation?

Trump is against higher taxes and regulation, which bodes well for those interested in repealing PASPA, but Republicans in general lean towards anti-gambling standpoints. The changes needed to legalize sports betting are left up to Congress, not Trump.

Other hurdles

  • Republicans will fully control Congress and that could have a negative impact on sports betting legislation.
  • Any new gambling legislation would most likely go through the Commerce Committee and that committee is currently being led by Michigan Rep. Fred Upton, who has a track record of voting against internet gambling.
  • Vice President-elect Mike Pence has also expressed anti-gambling sentiments.
  • Jeff Sessions, Trump’s choice for attorney general, is very conservative.

Sen. Jeff Sessions will be responsible for enforcing the Wire Act. How he interprets the law in regards to sports betting will play a large role in the future of US sports betting issues.

Image credit: Evan El-Amin / Shutterstock.com

Corey Goldberg Avatar
Written by
Corey Goldberg

Corey J. Goldberg is a poker dealer, player, and writer who has worked in the poker and online gambling industries for over 10 years. He is based in Montana and enjoys reading, writing, and spending as much time as possible in the wilderness.

View all posts by Corey Goldberg
Privacy Policy