US Mayors Trying To Take Down PASPA

US Mayors Trying To Take Down PASPAAs of late, more and more people have been coming out in support of legalizing sports betting. Most recently, the United States Conference of Mayors (USCM) has thrown in their support for the cause, joining the American Sports Betting Coalition (ASBC).

The United States Conference of Mayors is a collection of all the Mayors throughout the US who govern cities with populations of 30,000 people or more. The aim of these two groups’ joint efforts will be to end the federal sports betting ban, PASPA. The ASBC isn’t just a group of ragtag sports bettors. They’re a large group of industry leaders, law enforcement personnel, and public officials brought together by the American Gaming Association. They’re groups that support ending the ban, and more importantly, restoring power to the people and to the states, rather than having an overarching federal law dictate the issue.

“The overwhelming majority of Americans agree that allowing sports betting is something for the people of each state to decide, not the federal government.” Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett said. Cornett also serves as the president of the USCM.

Cornett also went on to endorse the potential economic growth that repealing the sports betting ban would create. “The potential revenue would be great for our local economies,” the Mayor said. He’s not just pulling figures out of thin air. He’s quoting the Oxford Economics study that estimated that over 150,000 jobs would be created if sports betting were no longer banned. Not only that, but it would stimulate the economy by an estimated $26 billion, creating over $5 billion in tax revenue alone.

"Our nation's mayors are the closest elected officials to the people," said Mike Cochran. Because of this, the USCM came to a conclusion that they needed to “be an active voice in the formulation of new policies and regulations on sports betting.” This is according to USCM CEO Tom Cochran. The conference's stance was influenced by the results of a study commissioned by the American Gaming Association, which showed that roughly 72% of sports fans heavily support legalized sports betting. Over 90% of those interviewed for the study said that they more actively engage with the sport they are betting on, following players and purchasing team merchandise.

With powerful groups forming nearly every day in opposition to PASPA, in addition to an overwhelming majority of people wanting sports betting to be legalized, the situation begs the question: who is still standing in the way of repealing PASPA? Well, the NFL, NHL, and NCAA have not changed their stances on legal sports betting. They believe that it takes the “family element” out of watching a game and that it irreparably damages the “integrity” of the game.

Other league owners and commissioners are not quite convinced of this anymore, like NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, MLS Commissioner Don Garber, and MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred. They’ve all voiced, at varying levels, their approval of a change in the way that sports betting is handled throughout the US. But these commissioners would rather see a federal regulation of sports betting, rather than something that is regulated individually by the states, which is why they still officially support PASPA whenever a court case like New Jersey’s comes up

While the growing support for legalized sports betting is encouraging for those who want to be able to bet on games at a domestic sportsbook rather than at an offshore site, it appears that it is still a long way off. Hopefully, though, more groups like the United States Conference of Mayors will throw their weight behind reformation of PASPA. Maybe then progress for sports betting in US states will be made on the issue.