The American Gaming Association hopes the first president with ties to the casino industry will help overturn a 25-year-long federal ban on sports betting.
In a letter to President-elect Donald J. Trump, the association asked the real estate mogul to review several issues concerning the casino industry, chief among them the ban on sports betting. In the past, Trump, who once owned three casinos in Atlantic City, said he would be OK with legalized sports betting because it was already happening.
During a 25-minute conference call Tuesday, Geoff Freeman, president and CEO of the gaming association, said Trump’s election and other factors have created a “perfect storm” when it comes to overturning the sports-betting ban.
“We are optimistic that states and tribes will soon have the option to choose if they wish to regulate sports betting in the same way (they) regulate other casino gaming products,” Freeman said. “But we still have work to do. President-elect Trump has expressed his view on sports betting and agreed that current laws have failed.”
The referendum to bring casinos to North Jersey failed last month.
Currently, only Nevada offers legal sports betting on individual games. In Nevada, sports bettors wagered about $4.2 billion legally in 2015, according to the Center for Gaming Research at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Bookmakers kept about $231.7 million, which amounted to about 2.1 percent of total gambling revenue in Nevada last year.
“The casino gaming industry is building a broad coalition in support of repealing the nearly 25-year-old federal prohibition and giving states the opportunity to offer sports betting if they so choose,” according to a memo from the association to the Trump transition team. “This position is shared by the National Basketball Association, owners across the four major sports leagues, the U.S. Conference of Mayors, National Council of State Legislatures and many others. We are pleased that President-elect Trump appears to agree with this approach.”
Over the course of the past couple of years, New Jersey has tried to introduce sports betting but has been thwarted in the federal courts and sued by the four major professional sports leagues and the NCAA. In August, a federal appeals court struck down attempts to legalize sports betting. The 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling invalidated a law passed by New Jersey in 2014 that would have allowed sports betting at casinos and racetracks. The court found New Jersey’s law repealing prohibitions against sports gambling violated the 1992 Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, which forbids state-authorized sports gambling.
ATLANTIC CITY — For the past three decades, the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority ha…
Supporters of legalizing sports betting in New Jersey, including Gov. Chris Christie, have said it would help prop up the struggling casino and horse racing industries.
The Casino Association of New Jersey said in a statement it supports the Gaming Association’s stance: “Regulated sports wagering would add a significant amenity to our destination resorts that would provide an economic boost for Atlantic City and additional tax revenues for the state for an activity that is currently conducted on a huge scale in an illegal market.”
“As the AGA points out, it is certainly helpful to have someone who understands gaming issues in the White House. That said, Congress will have to take action to remove the federal restriction,” said Jason Galanes, deputy chief of staff and spokesman for U.S. Rep. Frank LoBiondo, R-2nd, whose district includes Atlantic City. “But with an ambitious agenda already being outlined, Congressman LoBiondo is realistic that sports betting is not going to be addressed in the short term.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.