Pennsylvania looks to revoke anti sports betting laws

The resolution HR 619, which looks to end the federal sports betting prohibitions, was passed by the Pennsylvania House Gaming Oversight Committee on the 9th of February 2016.

Although a resolution has to go through many more steps before becoming a recognised piece of legislation, we can certainly appreciate the interest from the Pennsylvania Committee, as it passed with an overwhelming favourable 23-1 vote in a full house.

Revoking the betting ban?

The resolution urges the Congress of the United States of America to repeal its blanket Federal ban on sports betting and sanction, authorised vendors that already license and regulate casino gaming, in several states, including the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, to commence legal sports betting through its licensed facilities.

A lot of real arguments

The resolution raises many valid points; including that the sports betting ban does little to prevent actual gambling in the sporting front. Despite the strong federal laws forbidding betting on sports in USA, illegal sports wagering has been reported to be the most popular form of gambling in the country. The American Gaming Association has clearly indicated that the vast majority of bets placed in America are done through illegal avenues.


The Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA), also knowns as the Bradley Act went into effect on the 1st of January 1993. The aim of the bill was to stop the spread of sports betting in the USA; PASPA allowed states where sports betting had already been written into the law – Nevada, Oregon, Delaware and Montana, to continue with their practices but prevented any new states from legalising sports betting.

Resolution HR 619 passing in Pennsylvania would have little effect on the congress. However, this would clearly signal the strong opposition against PASPA in the state. It is believed that if more states launched such resolutions against the ban, it would bring the issue the attentions it deserves but the efforts by Pennsylvania alone may not create much of a stir.

An ongoing battel

Several states have written their own legislations to allow sports betting under their dominion; however, they cannot take effect outside of Nevada, Montana, Delaware and Oregon unless PASPA is repealed. PASPA is also being questioned in Federal court; New Jersey has been fighting a court case against the NFL, NHL, NBA, MLB and NCAA since January 2013 to allow sports betting in their state. A hearing which is expected in February 2016 could provide us with a decision by the summer of 2016.

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