Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-New York) unveiled a proposal that would provide a federal framework for legalized sports betting in the United States on Wednesday, suggesting solutions that would put more power in the hands of the leagues themselves.

Chuck Schumer sports betting
Senator Chuck Schumer (D-New York) released a proposal on Wednesday that would establish a federal framework for legalized sports betting. (Image: Zach Gibson/Getty)

In a memo outlining the proposal, which was first provided to ESPN, Schumer suggested that leagues should have some say in what types of betting are legal, and that sportsbooks should be required to use official league data.

Proposal Gives More Power to Leagues

The memo also outlined some basic standards that would apply to the sports betting industry, including making it illegal for anyone under the age of 21 to place bets anywhere in the country and requiring operators, leagues, and regulators to share information on suspicious betting activities.

As a New York sports fan especially my Yankees and Giants and a senator, my priority in the wake of the Murphy v. NCAA decision is making sure the integrity of the games we love is preserved, that young people and those suffering from gambling addiction are not taken advantage of, and that consumers that choose to engage in sports betting are appropriately protected, Schumer wrote in the memo.

One topic that wasnt broached in the memo was the idea of integrity fees: the royalties that some professional sports leagues have requested on bets placed on their competitions. State regulators have largely rejected calls for such charges, as bookmakers say they would make legal offerings either unprofitable or uncompetitive with illegal bookies.

But with that one notable exception, just about everything else in the bill sounds a lot like what the leagues have been pushing for. In a joint statement, the NBA, MLB, and PGA Tour expressed support for Schumers ideas.

As legalized sports betting spreads across the states, there is a need for consistent, nationwide integrity standards to safeguard the sports millions of fans love, the statement read. We strongly support the legislative framework outlined by Senator Schumer and we encourage Congress to adopt it.

Industry Questions Need for Federal Oversight

Since the Supreme Court overturned the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act in May, opening the door for any and all interested states to regulate sports betting, there hasnt been any federal action on the subject, though Congress has planned hearings and there have been a few calls for federal legislation, including by Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah).

In the meantime, states have acted on their own, passing regulations that have already allowed sportsbooks to open in Delaware, New Jersey, and Mississippi. According to some involved in the industry, these state-level regulatory frameworks are just fine without federal intervention.

In New Jersey, its working OK, Meadowlands Racetrack owner Jeffrey Gural told the North Jersey Record. If you look at wagering on horse racing, there is no federal legislation. Every state regulates it. Every state has its own rules for lotteries.

The American Gaming Association also came out against Schumers proposal, though they said the industry shared the goal of preserving the integrity of sporting events and providing consumer protections.

Federal oversight of sports betting was an abject failure for 26 years only contributing to a thriving illegal market with no consumer protections and safeguards, the AGA said in a statement. New federal mandates are a nonstarter.