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McCain calls for Congressional Hearing on Legalizing Sports BettingPublished February 12, 2015 by Lee R
The issue is even more of a hot potato for sports leagues than Congress itself.
Arizona Senator John McCain, already “outted” as an online gambling fan when he played poker on his mobile during a September 2013 U.S. Senate Committee Hearing on Foreign Relations, is back in the U.S. gambling industry headlines.
Favors Legal Sports Betting Nationwide
McCain has now come out publicly in favor of legal sports betting in America, as he told ESPN's Andy Katz and ABC's Rick Klein in a recent Capital Games podcast. McCain specifically called for Congress to conduct hearings and discussions on legalizing sports betting activities outside of the State of Nevada.
Currently, the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) of 1992 allows limited forms of sports betting in three other U.S. states--Delaware, Montana and Oregon, leaving the state of Nevada as the only state directly benefiting from single-match sports betting. With $3.9 billion in wagers places last year in the state alone, McCain raised the rhetorical question as to why Nevada should be the only region to continue to benefit.
NBA Commissioner is Pragmatic
This sentiment is shared by other influential figures not just in politics, but in sports, with NBA commissioner Adam Silver being the most visible face open to change.
Silver revealed in an interview with ESPN.com writer David Purdum that he is moving forward by discussing the issue with the other major sports league commissioners, confirming that extensive studies have been commissioned by each of the other commissioners, while Silver continues to discuss the issue with his own league counsels behind closed doors.
Other Commissioners Have Their Own Priorities
Publicly, other sports leagues do not share Silver's openness. Purdum claims that the NFL remains adamantly opposed to regulated sports betting, while the NHL is remaining publicly silent on the issue, according to a policy that ostensibly prioritizes protection of the sanctity of the atmosphere of sports stadiums and arenas.
Baseball refused to provide a comment on the story, and MLB's support will surely be the most difficult to secure, due the history of gambling scandals that have tainted some of its most legendary players.
Silver Has Significant Backing Nonetheless
Silver is the most pragmatic about the topic, and further has the backing of many of his NBA team owners, some of whom also own franchises in other sports, and at this point can be considered the leader of the movement seeking a reconsideration by Congress of the federal ban on sports betting that Senator McCain called for.