PGA Tour supports legalized sports betting and its reasons may surprise you – USA TODAY


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USA TODAY Sports

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. — The PGA Tour would welcome regulated and legalized sports betting on its competitions if the Supreme Court overturns the federal ban that prohibits such bets in most states. 

“You have keep in mind that betting is happening right now, with illegal black markets and offshore betting, and we don’t have any exposure to what is happening,” PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan told USA TODAY Sports in his first public comments on the issue. “If it’s legalized and regulated, you get to a point where you can better ensure the integrity of your competitions. You can provide adequate protection for consumers, which doesn’t exist today. There are commercial opportunities for us, which is one of the things we’re here to do, which is to create and maximize playing and financial opportunities for our players.

“And we believe we’d reach a much broader audience.”    

The Supreme Court is expected to issue its decision before its July recess. The case — Christie v. NCAA — was brought forth by then-New Jersey governor Chris Christie and sought to strike down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992, the federal ban on state-sponsored sports betting.  Four states are exempt from the law, and Nevada is the only one allowed to offer betting on single games.

More: Sports betting, states’ rights on tap at Supreme Court

More: Rickie Fowler takes on new TV role to tell story of Oklahoma State golf program

“If the court decides the law is not constitutional, then it will obviously change the landscape of sports in the United States in a significant way,” said Andy Levinson, PGA Tour senior vice president of tournament administration.

The Tour has invested considerable time and money studying sports betting for several years, Monahan says, meeting with regulators, integrity experts, betting operators and others in the gambling industry.  Monahan says the Tour has collaborated with the NBA and Major League Baseball to align lobbying efforts on the state and federal levels for legislation it supports.

For instance, the Tour seeks  an “integrity fee,” likely 1% of the handle from betting operators. The Tour also wants input or control over the types of wagers offered to mitigate corruption. And it  wants gambling operators to use only official data it produces.

“We’re making sure our voice is being heard,” Levinson said. “A lot of things remain to be determined. It’s not simply switching a switch. When the court rules it’s going to be big news for a while.”

 Monahan says the Tour recently launched integrity programs in coordination with sports data company Genius Sports, which monitors all of the Tour’s events in real time for suspicious betting activity. In part, the program prohibits players, caddies, staff and others connected to the Tour from betting on professional golf through an operator or providing inside information to others for betting golf.

Genius Sports also provides integrity educational services, including an online module that is mandatory for all members. Plus, the Tour has installed a system for investigating and sanctioning parties for violations.

 Players have been kept apprised of the potential for legalized sports betting, and Levinson says  “they are on board.”

Adding to the uncertainty in the looming Supreme Court decision is whether Congress would be involved and whether online sports betting  would be allowed. Levinson spent time in the U.K. where legalized sports betting is prevalent. He learned that 95% of the handle is bet online. In the U.S., only Nevada  has online betting within its borders.

Levinson says if sports betting is limited to brick and mortar casinos, illegal online gaming will continue on a massive scale. Legalized mobile betting would help states maximize tax revenues, promote integrity and protect consumers, he says.

All in all, fans are a long way off from being able to legally bet that Tiger Woods would win a tournament or that Jordan Spieth would best Rickie Fowler in a head-to-head wager. Regulatory bodies would have to be created on the state level, licensing fees determined, a sports betting system put in place — all contingent on the Supreme Court’s decision.

“The point some people will make is that we are now actively supporting legalized gambling. Well, yes, we are,” Monahan said. “Because we want to protect the integrity of our competitions, protect the consumer, and there are commercial opportunities. And we have a fan-first mentality. We want to grow and diversify our fan base. There are a lot of things we are doing to address that, and this could be another avenue that contributes to that.

“Like anything else we do, we are being very thoughtful. If we’re to go down this path, and it’s a big if, because at this point there is a lot of uncertainty, we’ll be prepared and we’ll protect our players and protect our constituents who are involved.”

 

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Maryland Sports Betting Effort Falls Short; Fantasy Sports Bill Heads To Governor – Legal Sports Report


Maryland sports betting 2019

An effort to legalize sports betting in Maryland via a referendum fell short, as the legislature wrapped up Monday without sending a bill to the governor.

The legislature also passed a bill dealing with daily fantasy sports that will head to the governor. Paid-entry fantasy contests were already legalized under a 2012 law.

Wither sports betting

A sports betting bill overwhelmingly passed the state House last month, to the tune of a vote of 124-14.

But beyond a hearing on H 1014, there was no action on the bill in the Senate. That effectively ends any hope of the state legalizing sports wagering in the short term.

The legislature doesn’t reconvene until January of next year.

Maryland may find itself way behind

By the time the statehouse is in action again, the state may find a very different landscape for legal wagering.

  • A decision is expected in the New Jersey sports betting case in front of the US Supreme Court this spring. If the high court strikes down the federal ban on single-game wagering outside of Nevada, that would allow other states to legalize it.
  • In the interim, most of Maryland’s neighbors have legalized wagering already, pending that decision. Pennsylvania, West Virginia and of course NJ already have laws on the books. Delaware already has parlay wagering and would likely follow suit.
  • Even if the state were to pass a bill in 2019, it would still require the approval of voters. That puts any potential rollout into 2020.

Of course, other states have cooled on passing sports betting this year, including Kansas most recently.

Fantasy sports law?

In other news, the state also sent a minor fantasy sports bill to the governor’s desk.

The bill — S 900 — isn’t exactly groundbreaking. It simply moves regulation of the fantasy sports industry from the state comptroller’s office to the state lottery and gaming commission. The comptroller had already instituted regulations last year, based on the authority vested in the office in 2012.

It also bans the operation of fantasy sports kiosks in Maryland. If it becomes law, it only appears to affect a company called Eaglestrike, which operates such kiosks in several states, Maryland included.

Dustin Gouker

Dustin Gouker
Dustin Gouker has been a sports journalist for more than 15 years, working as a reporter, editor and designer — including stops at The Washington Post and the D.C. Examiner.



Sports Betting Legalization Efforts Coming Together In Two New States – Legal Sports Report


Arizona sports betting

Recent sports betting bills are on file in at least 18 states, and that number may be poised to grow by two.

According to local reporting in Arizona and Minnesota, lawmakers in both statehouses have indicated an appetite for legislation. Neither state has produced a bill to date, but conversations are apparently well underway behind the scenes.

Time is running out on the 2018 legislative calendar, though, and tribal interests make these two cases particularly complicated.

Arizona sports betting?

Arizona has thriving (but separate) sports and gambling industries.

On the sports side, all four US professional leagues have franchises based in the Phoenix area. And when it comes to gambling, the state is home to more than 20 tribal casinos, two horse racing tracks, a lottery, and a network of OTBs. It also borders the Nevada sports betting market, the capital of the US industry.

Sen. Sonny Borelli told AZFamily that geography is part of the reason he plans to support legislation. “We’re sending all of our money to other states right now on sports betting,” he said. The money that’s escaping is badly needed, too.

Borelli wants to allocate funds to Arizona teachers, who have demanded a 20 percent pay increase. Meeting that demand alone could cost the state around $600 million per year in money that it doesn’t have. Although sports betting wouldn’t plug the entire leak, the associated tax revenue could certainly help.

Opposition exists, and the tribes…

Not everyone supports the idea, of course. Here’s Sen. Dave Farnsworth expressing his concern: “We have so many things eroding families in Arizona and the very moral character of our society that more gambling is the last thing we need.”

Despite his reservations, though, Farnsworth senses strong support within the legislature. He sets the odds “very high it might get passed” if federal prohibitions are relaxed.

Any expansion of gambling must be done with consideration to tribal agreements, though, which the report overlooks. And Arizona’s lawmaking calendar runs out in less than two weeks, so progress during this session is unlikely.

The state’s law doesn’t allow for daily fantasy sports, and tribes haven’t allowed legislation to change that to advance. So whatever happens in the state on sports betting is likely to need their approval.

Minnesota sports betting?

Minnesota is another state with both tribal and commercial gaming operations. Like Arizona, it has several Native American casinos, plus a pair of tracks that offer pari-mutuel horse betting.

Unlike Arizona, however, the tribes do not share casino revenue with Minnesota. There are no contractual restrictions that prevent the state from offering its own gambling products, though it would need to amend statutes.

According to a report from the Star Tribune, a behind-the-scenes effort to construct a Minnesota sports betting bill is already in progress. The outlet even acquired the early framework, which is based on research from House aides. An effort to regulate daily fantasy sports has also been rekindled recently.

Rep. Pat Garofalo is leading the charge on sports betting, and he offered his thoughts to Legal Sports Report this week.

Rep. Garofalo on MN sports betting

Garofalo cited “huge public demand” for sports betting in Minnesota, and he sees some danger in being unprepared for a Supreme Court ruling. “People are going to have an expectation that they’re going to be able to engage in safe, fair, and regulated sports gambling,” he said, presuming a striking down of PASPA.

If the states can’t provide a legitimate market, he fears bettors will continue to look elsewhere.

“We’re going to have a lot more people gambling on sports by the end of this year. It’s just a matter of whether they’re going to be doing it in a safe, regulated environment in Minnesota or whether they’ll be using offshore sportsbooks.”

Garofalo stressed a need to tread carefully when it comes to the stakeholders (like the tribes) in his state, though. “I won’t submit a sports gambling bill the tribal casinos are opposed to,” he said. “Nonnegotiable.”

Garnering tribal support is far from a sure thing, however. Leaders have stood opposed to gambling expansion in the past, concerned that a renegotiated compact would include payments to the state.

Garofalo also indicated that he’s been in touch with two professional sports leagues — likely the NBA and MLB, which have been lobbying for adoption of their model legislation. “They’re obviously very engaged in the process and want to partake in it,” he said.

Minnesota has a bit more time to move than Arizona, but the spring calendar is still running thin. Lawmakers conclude their session on May 21.



Golf Wants Integrity Fee, Too! PGA Tour Joins NBA, MLB on Sports Betting Stance – OnlineGambling.com


With Illinois the latest state to consider legalizing sports betting, the PGA Tour took the opportunity to voice its support for initiatives backed by the NBA and Major League Baseball.

Jay Monahan
PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan has aligned his organization with the MLB and NBA in regards to supporting regulation of sports betting. (Image: Middlesex East)

The revelation of professional golf’s stance on the issue of gambling was disclosed at a hearing of the Illinois Senate Gaming Committee on Tuesday. It was the first time that the tour voiced a definitive opinion on the subject.

The timing could be due to the Supreme Court’s impending decision that could change decades of precedent prohibiting states other than Nevada from licensing and regulating sports betting.

NBA Assistant General Counsel Dan Spillane and MLB Deputy General Counsel Bryan Seeley both testified at the hearing. The unidentified representative for the PGA Tour did not, but was mentioned by Spillane in his remarks to the legislative body.

“Although not a part of the NBA family, I just want to note that a representative of the PGA Tour also is in attendance today, and I understand that they also are supportive of the views that Mr. Seeley and I will be sharing with you today,” Spillane said.

Supporting NBA, MLB Efforts

Legal Sports Report later got confirmation of the pro-regulation stance of golf’s governing organization in a public statement.

“The PGA Tour supports the regulation of sports betting in a safe and responsible manner,” the statement read. “We believe regulation is the most effective way of ensuring integrity in competition, protecting consumers, engaging fans and generating revenue for government, operators and leagues. We are aligned with the NBA and MLB in this area, and we are looking for ways to collaborate with legislators, regulators, operators and others in the industry on regulation that serves the interests of all involved.”

In January PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan talked about his views on gambling, telling the Golf Channel that he would have an “open mind toward it.”

‘Integrity Fees’ for Everyone

So chalk up another professional ruling body’s support for the controversial integrity fee. The NBA and MLB have spent considerable sums trying to persuade several state’s legislators in attempting to get what amounts to a royalty from any potential sports betting a state may implement. The two leagues have a reported 30-registered lobbyists working the halls of 16 state congresses.

So far the efforts by those representing the integrity fee have been wasted money. West Virginia passed a sports betting bill that did not contain the requested 1 percent fee. Other states, such as New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Mississippi, and Connecticut, have laws that don’t include the fee.

Indiana is the only state that has the integrity fee included in a proposed bill. Legislators have not voted on the bill and discussions continue.

Minnesota recently began debate on bringing sports betting to the state. Rep. Pat Garofalo, (R-Farmington) told the Minnesota Star Tribune he and his colleagues should act now in case the Supreme Court overturns the ban.

“If the Supreme Court removes the ban, and if we do nothing, the offshore sports books will flood social media and scoop up bettors who think they are regulated, legal and taxed,” Garofalo said.



Esports bookmaking? Globally, it's already a billion-dollar gambling … – Washington Post



Players compete in a video game competition during the grand opening of esports Arena Las Vegas at Luxor Hotel and Casino. (Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

Since 2015, at least a dozen NBA teams, owners and players have invested heavily in the growing esports market, backing or buying competitive gaming teams around the globe. Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, a dot-com pioneer who built a fortune in the tech world, opted for a different route. Instead of buying an esports team of his own, Cuban made a bet on betting, investing in a company called Unikrn that sets lines and takes wagers from around the world on esports competitions.

Major esports leagues such as those for popular games League of Legends, Overwatch, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and Dota 2 project continue to rise in value at a meteoric pace, projecting to be worth $906 million in 2018 — a figure that includes sponsorships, advertising, media rights, game publisher fees, merchandise and tickets. It would represent 38 percent annual growth from 2017, according to market research firm Newzoo.

Less visible to outsiders, the gambling market around those leagues is even more robust. Even with sports betting illegal in the vast majority of the United States, global wagering on esports was projected at $6.7 billion for 2018 in a report by software analytics company Narus and research firm Eilers & Krejcik Gaming. That same report expected the total to approach $13 billion by 2020. By comparison, a 2013 report by the BBC estimated global soccer betting at between $49 billion and $70 billion, which, like the esports report, included both legal and illegal wagers.

As Unikrn and other esports bookmaking companies try to tap into the lucrative and still-growing market, such bodies also are bringing order to a world that often flirts with the lines of legality, facing issues of underage gambling, ill-defined regulations and match-fixing, while also positioned to receive a potentially significant boost.

Mark Cuban invested in Unikrn, an online esports bookmaking company. (Chris Pizzello/AP)

When Cuban first invested in Unikrn, he did so despite the fact that betting on sports is prohibited by U.S. law in all but four states, believing, as he said in an email interview with The Washington Post, that someday would change. That belief could soon become reality.

With the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (PASPA) under review by the Supreme Court, there’s potential for a ruling that would legalize sports betting outside of Nevada, Oregon, Montana and Delaware. Such a decision could signal a huge windfall for Unikrn and other such companies that accept esports betting, catalyzing an already emerging sector of the gambling world.

A growing base of bettors

A vast majority of cash bets are placed online and are wagered on the outcomes of games and tournaments, much like the traditional sports betting found in Las Vegas. Some other wagers involve fantasy teams or head-to-head matchups in which the bettor is playing, similar to a poker match or a drag race, in which players bet on themselves to win.

Unikrn — as well as companies such as Betway, Pinnacle, William Hill, Ladbrokes and GG.bet — offers a sports book and odds via its website, taking bets on the outcomes of esports league and tournament games. Unikrn accepts bets using cash and later this month will accept them using a proprietary cryptocurrency called UnikoinGold — similar to bitcoin — that raised $31.4 million in its Initial Coin Offering (ICO). Rahul Sood, founder of Unikrn, creator of Microsoft Ventures and a gamer himself, claims Unikrn has about 4 million active users, many of them from a young user base.

Sood noted the attractiveness of a younger demographic as a central reason he started the company. A Washington Post-UMass Lowell survey conducted in fall 2017 showed almost three-quarters of Americans age 14 to 21 either played or watched multiplayer online games or competitions in the previous year. Half of adults under 30 have played or watched online games, as have a quarter of adults overall. Even with betting restricted to those over 18, such a customer base could be attractive to casinos looking to hedge against aging clientele.

“If you look at the slot machine area, there are probably more wheelchairs and walkers per square foot than anywhere else in the casino,” he said. “Young people go straight to the nightclub and don’t spend time there.”

Young or old, the market for Unikrn has been limited because of its inability to take bets from inside the United States. Advocates of esports betting believe legalized sports betting will have a significant impact on the esports gambling market, noting that with more sports books taking legal bets in more states, those books inevitably will adopt esports into their betting offerings, given the rapid growth of competitive gaming. Others, such as the American Gaming Association (AGA), see a more complicated road for esports betting.

A potential jackpot

Even if PASPA is repealed or altered, each state must decide whether to allow sports betting and then create its own regulatory framework. It would be up to the states to decide on how to categorize esports. In Nevada sports books, esports betting falls outside of the state’s sports betting structure. Instead, esports are listed under “other events,” as are bets on the NBA draft or the Heisman Trophy winner, for example.

Seth Schorr, CEO of Las Vegas’s Downtown Grand Hotel and Casino, one of the first sports books to accept bets on esports, pointed to a memorandum of understanding between the Nevada Gaming Control Board and the esports Integrity Coalition as evidence that esports will be defined as a sport for betting purposes, but he noted that not all esports leagues and tournaments would qualify.

“You can’t bet on football; you can bet on the NFL. I see Nevada looking at specific esports leagues and offerings,” Schorr said, explaining that the ability to guarantee integrity, and prevent match-fixing and cheating, is paramount.

The presence of companies such as Unikrn can help on that front, just as sports books helped root out a match-fixing scandal in professional tennis in 2017 by flagging irregularities in betting patterns and competitive results.

Just as traditional sports have encountered instances of fixed games, so too has the fledgling esports scene. Twenty-one players accused of fixing competitive matches for the game Counter-Strike: Global Offensive were banned from future professional events for orchestrating the outcomes of matches in 2015. In March, two men — one who ran an illegal gambling site and the other a pro player — were arrested for fixing a StarCraft tournament match.

Many bookmakers lack sufficient data on the performances of esports players and teams that traditional sports books use to make odds for games in the NFL or another pro sports league. This kind of immaturity in the market, the lack of state-level regulations and the number of underage fans are reasons the AGA does not believe a repeal or alteration of PASPA will have an overnight effect on the esports betting market.

“I don’t think PASPA is the vehicle for the blossoming of esports,” said Will Green, senior director of strategic communications for the AGA, noting the lack of pending legislation at the state level that specifically authorizes esports betting.

“There has to be clarity [regarding esports being classified as a sport for betting purposes by regulators], and right now there are more questions than there are answers. There really is no knowledge about how PASPA affects esports.”

Another governmental regulation also presents challenges to online esports betting.

“If PASPA is overturned, the Wire Act still exists, which means unless they [the U.S. Congress] do something about it, you will only have intrastate sports betting,” said Jennifer Roberts, associate director of the UNLV International Center for Gaming Regulation and an adjunct professor at the UNLV William S. Boyd School of Law.

Unikrn’s plan for dealing with the Wire Act is to partner with licensed, land-based casinos and use their geo-based technology and other security measures to ensure that only customers in states with permitted sports wagering are able to place bets.

Because of what he sees as the growing acceptance of gambling in the United States, and sports betting specifically, Schorr believes the end of PASPA would have a “massive impact” on esports betting, but he cautioned the change would not be immediate.

“Everything takes time; each state is different,” he said. “We are catching up with the rest of the world.”



Esports bookmaking? Globally, it's already a billion-dollar gambling industry – Washington Post



Players compete in a video game competition during the grand opening of esports Arena Las Vegas at Luxor Hotel and Casino. (Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

Since 2015, at least a dozen NBA teams, owners and players have invested heavily in the growing esports market, backing or buying competitive gaming teams around the globe. Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, a dot-com pioneer who built a fortune in the tech world, opted for a different route. Instead of buying an esports team of his own, Cuban made a bet on betting, investing in a company called Unikrn that sets lines and takes wagers from around the world on esports competitions.

Major esports leagues such as those for popular games League of Legends, Overwatch, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and Dota 2 project continue to rise in value at a meteoric pace, projecting to be worth $906 million in 2018 — a figure that includes sponsorships, advertising, media rights, game publisher fees, merchandise and tickets. It would represent 38 percent annual growth from 2017, according to market research firm Newzoo.

Less visible to outsiders, the gambling market around those leagues is even more robust. Even with sports betting illegal in the vast majority of the United States, global wagering on esports was projected at $6.7 billion for 2018 in a report by software analytics company Narus and research firm Eilers & Krejcik Gaming. That same report expected the total to approach $13 billion by 2020. By comparison, a 2013 report by the BBC estimated global soccer betting at between $49 billion and $70 billion, which, like the esports report, included both legal and illegal wagers.

As Unikrn and other esports bookmaking companies try to tap into the lucrative and still-growing market, such bodies also are bringing order to a world that often flirts with the lines of legality, facing issues of underage gambling, ill-defined regulations and match-fixing, while also positioned to receive a potentially significant boost.

Mark Cuban invested in Unikrn, an online esports bookmaking company. (Chris Pizzello/AP)

When Cuban first invested in Unikrn, he did so despite the fact that betting on sports is prohibited by U.S. law in all but four states, believing, as he said in an email interview with The Washington Post, that someday would change. That belief could soon become reality.

With the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (PASPA) under review by the Supreme Court, there’s potential for a ruling that would legalize sports betting outside of Nevada, Oregon, Montana and Delaware. Such a decision could signal a huge windfall for Unikrn and other such companies that accept esports betting, catalyzing an already emerging sector of the gambling world.

A growing base of bettors

A vast majority of cash bets are placed online and are wagered on the outcomes of games and tournaments, much like the traditional sports betting found in Las Vegas. Some other wagers involve fantasy teams or head-to-head matchups in which the bettor is playing, similar to a poker match or a drag race, in which players bet on themselves to win.

Unikrn — as well as companies such as Betway, Pinnacle, William Hill, Ladbrokes and GG.bet — offers a sports book and odds via its website, taking bets on the outcomes of esports league and tournament games. Unikrn accepts bets using cash and later this month will accept them using a proprietary cryptocurrency called UnikoinGold — similar to bitcoin — that raised $31.4 million in its Initial Coin Offering (ICO). Rahul Sood, founder of Unikrn, creator of Microsoft Ventures and a gamer himself, claims Unikrn has about 4 million active users, many of them from a young user base.

Sood noted the attractiveness of a younger demographic as a central reason he started the company. A Washington Post-UMass Lowell survey conducted in fall 2017 showed almost three-quarters of Americans age 14 to 21 either played or watched multiplayer online games or competitions in the previous year. Half of adults under 30 have played or watched online games, as have a quarter of adults overall. Even with betting restricted to those over 18, such a customer base could be attractive to casinos looking to hedge against aging clientele.

“If you look at the slot machine area, there are probably more wheelchairs and walkers per square foot than anywhere else in the casino,” he said. “Young people go straight to the nightclub and don’t spend time there.”

Young or old, the market for Unikrn has been limited because of its inability to take bets from inside the United States. Advocates of esports betting believe legalized sports betting will have a significant impact on the esports gambling market, noting that with more sports books taking legal bets in more states, those books inevitably will adopt esports into their betting offerings, given the rapid growth of competitive gaming. Others, such as the American Gaming Association (AGA), see a more complicated road for esports betting.

A potential jackpot

Even if PASPA is repealed or altered, each state must decide whether to allow sports betting and then create its own regulatory framework. It would be up to the states to decide on how to categorize esports. In Nevada sports books, esports betting falls outside of the state’s sports betting structure. Instead, esports are listed under “other events,” as are bets on the NBA draft or the Heisman Trophy winner, for example.

Seth Schorr, CEO of Las Vegas’s Downtown Grand Hotel and Casino, one of the first sports books to accept bets on esports, pointed to a memorandum of understanding between the Nevada Gaming Control Board and the esports Integrity Coalition as evidence that esports will be defined as a sport for betting purposes, but he noted that not all esports leagues and tournaments would qualify.

“You can’t bet on football; you can bet on the NFL. I see Nevada looking at specific esports leagues and offerings,” Schorr said, explaining that the ability to guarantee integrity, and prevent match-fixing and cheating, is paramount.

The presence of companies such as Unikrn can help on that front, just as sports books helped root out a match-fixing scandal in professional tennis in 2017 by flagging irregularities in betting patterns and competitive results.

Just as traditional sports have encountered instances of fixed games, so too has the fledgling esports scene. Twenty-one players accused of fixing competitive matches for the game Counter-Strike: Global Offensive were banned from future professional events for orchestrating the outcomes of matches in 2015. In March, two men — one who ran an illegal gambling site and the other a pro player — were arrested for fixing a StarCraft tournament match.

Many bookmakers lack sufficient data on the performances of esports players and teams that traditional sports books use to make odds for games in the NFL or another pro sports league. This kind of immaturity in the market, the lack of state-level regulations and the number of underage fans are reasons the AGA does not believe a repeal or alteration of PASPA will have an overnight effect on the esports betting market.

“I don’t think PASPA is the vehicle for the blossoming of esports,” said Will Green, senior director of strategic communications for the AGA, noting the lack of pending legislation at the state level that specifically authorizes esports betting.

“There has to be clarity [regarding esports being classified as a sport for betting purposes by regulators], and right now there are more questions than there are answers. There really is no knowledge about how PASPA affects esports.”

Another governmental regulation also presents challenges to online esports betting.

“If PASPA is overturned, the Wire Act still exists, which means unless they [the U.S. Congress] do something about it, you will only have intrastate sports betting,” said Jennifer Roberts, associate director of the UNLV International Center for Gaming Regulation and an adjunct professor at the UNLV William S. Boyd School of Law.

Unikrn’s plan for dealing with the Wire Act is to partner with licensed, land-based casinos and use their geo-based technology and other security measures to ensure that only customers in states with permitted sports wagering are able to place bets.

Because of what he sees as the growing acceptance of gambling in the United States, and sports betting specifically, Schorr believes the end of PASPA would have a “massive impact” on esports betting, but he cautioned the change would not be immediate.

“Everything takes time; each state is different,” he said. “We are catching up with the rest of the world.”