A bill to outlaw “crowdfunding” of sports games is expected to pass in the Senate.
The Sports Authority of America, which has operated a $1.2 billion sports gambling business in the U.S., says it has seen a surge in demand for its games and said it would not be able to comply with a federal law requiring it to register as a gambling establishment.
The bill, introduced by Sens.
Tom Cotton of Arkansas and Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, was introduced Monday by Cotton and Sen. James Lankford of Oklahoma.
Cotton, the first Republican senator to vote against the Affordable Care Act repeal, said in a statement the bill is designed to protect the interests of athletes and fans and to prevent the proliferation of unsanctioned, unregulated online sports betting.
“We have been working closely with our constituents and the sports industry, which provides tens of millions of dollars to our state’s universities and colleges, to develop legislation that will protect the health, safety, and security of all participants in these games,” Cotton said.
Cotters bill is unlikely to garner much support in the House, which was expected to take up the legislation during the lame-duck session.
The legislation would prevent states from regulating sports betting online and would allow online sports bets to be held in bookmaking and gaming rooms.
The bill does not directly ban the sale of sports tickets online, but would prohibit bookmakers from offering bets based on an athlete’s participation in an online game.
Sen. Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., a former sports gambling attorney, said he was optimistic that the bill would pass.
“I’m hopeful it will be passed,” Enzi said.
“I think it would have a lot of merit and I think it will protect all players.”
Bills that would allow sports betting to be conducted on college and high school campuses have already been introduced in several states, including Florida, Texas, Illinois, Montana and Indiana.
The Senate approved a bill last week in Tennessee that would make it illegal to host or operate a bet on an NCAA college football game or men’s college basketball game in a state with a ban.