AGA’s Law Enforcement Panel Calls for PAPSA Repeal

In the latest sign that the United States might be ready to fully legalize sports betting, a group of five prominent law enforcement officials released a report calling for Congress to repeal the current federal ban.

The five-person panel, officially known as the Illegal Gambling Advisory Board, was formed in June under the auspices of the American Gaming Association (AGA). Specifically, the board urged lawmakers to overturn the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PAPSA) of 1992, the law used to prohibit sports betting in all but four American states (Nevada, Delaware, Montana, and Oregon).

The report, officially titled “Law Enforcement Summit on Illegal Sports Betting: After Action Report,” outlined several reasons for reversing PAPSA. Chief among the panel’s motivations was the fact that sports betting has not been curtailed by PAPSA, but simply driven underground to form a “$150-$500 billion black market with no consumer protection.”

Tim Murphy, the former deputy director for the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), serves as chair for the panel. Murphy outlined the report’s fundamental appraisal of PAPSA in the report’s introduction:

“The current approach to sports betting in the United States is not working; instead, it’s fueling criminal enterprises. “It did create this minimum $150 billion market, with no consumer protections, no tax benefits for communities, and just no safeguards for the integrity of sports.

The time has come to repeal the current sports betting ban and replace it with rigorous regulations that benefit states, protect consumers and maintain the integrity of the games.”

Along with Murphy, the AGA’s Illegal Gambling Advisory Board includes Ed Davis, former Boston Police Commissioner; Jim Dinkins, former Executive Associate Director, Homeland Security Investigations, U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement; J.B. Van Hollen, former Attorney General for Wisconsin, President of the National Association of Attorneys General, and former U.S. Attorney; and Bill Young, former Sheriff of Clark County, Nevada.

Each member of the board spoke with Dustin Gouker of Legal Sports Report to discuss their personal reasoning for overturning PAPSA.

According to Davis, his days policing the streets of Boston fully informed him as to the extent and scope of illicit underground gambling, and the essential role it plays in funding organized crime:

“I can tell you illegal sports betting was the grease that caused that machine to function. They were assured of a routine and very substantial amount of money coming in every week.”

While repealing PAPSA would require Congressional action, Van Hollen spoke to the need for individual states to follow New Jersey’s recent example, by challenging PAPSA’s undue oversight of internal regulatory approaches to the sports betting industry:

“We all know that the federal government cannot be the be-all and end-all. From the founding of our country, local governments, state governments were given the power and authority for police powers to protect their citizens from criminal activities and also from consumer fraud.

Right now under PASPA, as it sits, the states do not have the ability to do that.”

Young echoed those sentiments, emphasizing the importance of state legislation as the potential tipping point toward an eventual repeal of PAPSA:

“Many leaders from all parts of the world law enforcement and professional sports believe it’s time to reconsider the national ban and allow states to decide whether to legalize and regulate, just like we do with all other forms of gambling.”