Legal Sports

Connecticut Senator Blumenthal Working On Sports Betting Bill To Protect Student-Athletes

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Connecticut Senator Richard Blumenthal, a Democrat, is reportedly working on a sports betting bill that would establish a non-federal agency to protect amateur athletes from being exploited by gamblers.

GamblingCompliance (paywall) reported Wednesday that Donna Lopiano, president and founder of Sports Management Resources and former women’s athletic director at the University of Texas, stated Blumenthal’s bill would help educate athletes on how to prevent match-fixing.

“If we’re going to get ahead of the gambling game, there has to be an anti-gambling, anti-corruption center — not a federal agency — set up,” Lopiano said Tuesday at the Aspen Institute, where NCAA president Mark Emmert was also in attendance discussing other issues.

“There is a way that we can have an anti-corruption agency that can identify where those matches are fixed; that has primary responsibility for educating those athletes as to how they can identify when they’re being approached.”

Blumenthal hasn’t commented publicly on the reported legislative efforts.

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Other federal efforts

The Democratic senator is not alone working on sports betting as it pertains to college and amateur athletes. Utah Republican Senator Mitt Romney and New York counterpart and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer are working on a bipartisan bill to establish federal standards for sports betting, with Romney picking up the mantle from his predecessor Orrin Hatch.

Hatch was one of the original authors of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA), which was passed in 1992 but overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court in May 2018, a decision that paved the way for sports betting to expand on a state-by-state basis.

In the latter part of 2018, Hatch and Schumer introduced a controversial placeholder bill called the Sports Wagering Market Integrity Act to have states’ regulations approved by the U.S. Attorney General and purchase “official league data” from sports leagues.

Sports gambling is regulated by state governments, with next year anticipated to bring the number of states with some form of legal sports wagering past the number 20.

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