After the Supreme Court’s landmark decision ending the federal ban on sports betting, states across the country have rushed to pass sports betting legislation. However, in many of these states, consumer protections have been ignored. Especially protections that would protect the integrity of the games, guard against fraud, and provide resources for problem gamblers.
Yesterday afternoon, Sports Fans Coalition and the George Washington University Law School convened the Sports Betting Bill of Rights Symposium. We gathered experts from government, civil society, and the private sector in an open forum to discuss consumer protections for states legalizing sports betting. Our panelists included:
- Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh
- Sally Greenberg, National Consumers League
- Richard Batchelder, Ropes & Gray
- Brianne Doura, Massachusetts Council on Compulsive Gambling
- Kurt Eggert, Chapman University
- And Irene Leech, Virginia Citizen's Consumer Council
The event, moderated by GW Law Associate Dean Alan Morrison and SFC Chairman David Goodfriend, had diverse opinions on how states and even the federal government should proceed.
“People become addicted to gambling, they lose their rent money, they lose their food money, so it costs that state money to allow these things to take place [gambling] and there needs to be some protections to ensure this doesn't occur.” MD AG @BrianFrosh #sportsbettingrights— Sports Fans Coalition (@sportsfanorg) June 21, 2018
“Once the states start collecting money, it’s on the states to protect problem gamblers.” Kurt Eggert #sportsbettingrights— Sports Fans Coalition (@sportsfanorg) June 21, 2018
"We don't have enough data and we need evidenced based regulations, there is no federal safety net for gambling addiction, we need baseline data to measure if there will be an uptick in crime because of gambling which is something we are currently measuring in MA.” Brianne Doura— Sports Fans Coalition (@sportsfanorg) June 21, 2018
There was one theme that struck a nerve with SFC: the possibility of a race to the bottom. In order for tax revenue estimates to be accurate, states must attract businesses. Now, neighboring states are competing for the most pro-gambling operator legislation to lure more companies. This competition may cause states to lose sight of protecting the fans and consumers whose money will be spent.
We recommend you watch the panel and tell us what you think!