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Among the various hyperbolic statements put out there by NFL Executive Vice President Jocelyn Moore at last week’s House subcommittee hearing on sports betting was the idea that state sports betting regulation has been a race to the bottom.
Only Moore, or perhaps Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch, one of the original authors of the PASPA federal ban on sports betting the US Supreme Court declared unconstitutional in May, know exactly what that means. After all, Sen. Hatch used similar language when he unveiled a plan last month to introduce federal sports betting legislation to Congress:
“To do it right, we need to make sure that state regulatory frameworks are not a race to the bottom.”
Of course, Moore took it a step further, suggesting the race is already on:
“Since the Supreme Court’s decision, states are rushing to promote sports betting. And we are witnessing a regulatory race to the bottom.”
Unfortunately, neither Moore or Hatch have revealed any evidence this is happening.
Essentially, it’s a narrative that paints states as dysfunctional organizations unable to properly manage their own affairs. What Moore is saying is that federal oversight is necessary to prevent states from implementing ineffectual ad hoc regulations that could possibly open up the sports industry to corruption.
The NFL’s true motivation
Moore made it clear the NFL wants Congress to force states to follow certain regulatory guidelines. What isn’t quite as clear is the league’s motivation for this. One must read between the lines to find that.
However, tucked neatly into these guidelines is a provision that sportsbooks be forced to buy data directly from the league. It’s little more than a way for the NFL to get a piece of the sports betting pie and proof the league’s true motivation for wanting federal oversight on sports betting could, in fact, be money.
However, to go after that money, Moore is claiming states have rushed through the regulatory process. Plus, these states lack the experience necessary to get the job done right. Unfortunately, there’s very little evidence to back up those claims.
More states are launching sports betting
Delaware was the first state to launch legal and regulated sports betting in the wake of the Supreme Court decision. However, it already had a form of legal sports betting authorized by previous federal sports betting legislation.
These two states were certainly quick to launch legal sports betting after the Supreme Court decision. However, these efforts can hardly be considered a rush, nor can the experience of either state be questioned.
A lack of evidence
As far as heading to the bottom is concerned, Moore didn’t provide any evidence that sports betting regulations adopted by any state are doing anything close to that.
In fact, most state sports betting regulations adopted so far look the same as the ones the NFL wants the feds to force on them. That is, outside of making sportsbooks buy league data and handing the NFL a piece of the revenue.
In other words, the only thing the NFL really wants states to do differently is pay them.
Legal and regulated sports betting has also launched in Mississippi and West Virginia. Plus, Pennsylvania has established temporary regulations and Rhode Island is doing the same as both move towards launch.
So far, The NFL has yet to point out any problem it has with any of the regulations in these states either.
The states that have launched legal and regulated sports betting have thus far refused to cut the NFL in. Now, the NFL wants Congress to help them get it.
The NFL is clearly willing to spew hyperbolic statements with no factual basis to try to convert a House subcommittee to its way of thinking. Whether it can use Hatch’s own words to convince anyone other than him–an anti-gambling zealot behind the previously failed federal ban on sports betting–remains to be seen.