Washington • Sen. Orrin Hatch said Monday he would unveil legislation soon on sports betting after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a federal law that had prohibited it outside Nevada.
Hatch, R-Utah, didn’t detail what his bill would do but his office said it would set a standard for sports betting that would “uphold the integrity of the game,” protect consumers, safeguard against underage and problem gambling, and ensure that states that do not want sports betting won’t have to accept it.
The high court case is not expected to affect the Beehive State, which already bans any type of gambling.
The justices ruled 6-3 that the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, which Hatch helped write, violated states’ rights to decide if they wanted to allow gambling on sports.
“The legalization of sports gambling requires an important policy choice, but the choice is not ours to make,” wrote Associate Justice Samuel Alito. “Congress can regulate sports gambling directly, but if it elects not to do so, each state is free to act on its own.”
Hatch — a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which eschews gambling — said he would take that opportunity to offer some rules for sports betting.
“The problems posed by sports betting are much the same as they were 25 years ago,” Utah’s outgoing senior senator said in a statement. “But the rapid rise of the internet means that sports betting across state lines is now just a click away. We cannot allow this practice to proliferate amid uneven enforcement and a patchwork race to the regulatory bottom. At stake here is the very integrity of sports.”
Hatch said he would introduce his legislation in the coming weeks after speaking to his colleagues and those involved in the gambling business and sports associations.
New Jersey had fought the federal law prohibiting sports betting, saying it was a state choice. Nevada, which already had sports betting before the law was instituted, was grandfathered.