Senator Chuck Schumer Advocating for Federal Sports Betting Regulation

September 3rd, 2018 | by Jason Reynolds

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) wants to create a legal framework for sports betting in a move backed by the majors US sports leagues and the NCAA.

 Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer believes federal regulation for US sports betting is necessary. (Image:

In an August 29 memo first sent to ESPN, Schumer said that a number of provisions need to be in place to ensure the integrity of the emerging industry.

With the Supreme Court’s ruling, it’s incumbent on the federal government to take a leadership role and provide the necessary guidance to prevent uncertainty and confusion for the leagues, state governments, consumers and fans alike,” reads the memo.

Leagues Support Schumer

In support of Schumer, the NBA, MLB and PGA issued a joint statement calling for a national “legislative framework” that would guide states as they start to offer sports betting. Doubling down on the comments, the NFL and NCAA also said they “applaud” the push for federal regulation in an effort to protect the integrity of sport in the US.

At this stage, no formal legislations have been proposed. However, given Schumer’s standing in the Senate, his comments carry a certain amount of weight and could form the genesis of a federal bill.

Looking forward, any potential bill would have to include provisions for online sports betting which, in turn, could open the door for poker. Prior to the Supreme Court overturning the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) in May, a number of political figures were fighting for online poker.

One of the most telling comments ruling came courtesy of California Assemblyman Reggie Jones-Sawyer (D-Los Angeles). Speaking to Online Poker Report in February, Jones-Sawyer said that “sports betting raises all tides.”

The implication was that a change in one area could lead to changes in another.

Federal Changes Could Cause Legal Waves

In New York, soon-to-be retired Republican Senator John Bonacic (R-Mt. Hope) has been vocal in his support of gambling in all its forms.

His last effort before announcing he won’t seek reelection was S3898A. Currently under review, the bill is aiming to change the state’s sports betting laws and bring poker into the mix under the “game of skill” definition.

Although the bill’s fortunes are undecided, Bonacic has shown it’s possible to link poker and sports betting in the legislative arena. Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX) has taken note of this and is currently eyeing up similar opportunities.

Speaking to in June, Barton said he’s looking for a way to attach some form of poker legislation to a proposed federal bill about horse racing.

Although Schumer’s proposal didn’t mentioned poker, the winds of change are starting to blow and that could lead to positive changes for poker players across the US.


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