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NJ Congressman unveils new bill to give states authority over gambling

New Jersey Congressman Frank Pallone is circulating a draft gaming bill which would hand individual the states the right to choose whether to authorise online gaming and sports betting.

Pallone says the Gaming Accountability and Modernization Enhancement Act (GAME) is intended to remove the federal obstacles to legalised gambling at the state level, and to update existing outdated federal law.

“Despite the federal gaming laws in place today, Americans are betting up to $400 billion a year on sporting events alone,” Pallone said. “It’s time to recognise that the laws are outdated, and the GAME Act will modernise them by increasing transparency, integrity, and consumer protections.”

The proposed bill establishes that a person or governmental entity is not criminally or civilly liable under federal law for engaging in gaming activity that is legal under state law, provided that the state also provides for certain consumer protections.

These include requirements for licensing or certification, transparency and integrity, age and location verification, appropriate tax collection, privacy and data security, as well as safeguards against crime and compulsive play.

Authority to ensure compliance with the minimum requirements would be handed to the Federal Trade Commission, which would also be tasked with establishing the rules.

The bill also amends the Public Health Services Act to give the secretary of health and human services the authority to establish and implement programs for prevention and treatment of gambling addiction.

A more contentious aspect of the bill is its definition of a bet or wager, which is defined as "risking of something of value, including virtual currency or virtual items, upon the outcome of a contest of others, a sporting event, or a game of skill or a game of chance, on the expectation that the person will receive something of value in the event of a certain outcome."

This would place lotteries, fantasy sports contests and wagering on e-sports into the same category as sports betting.

The proposed bill would also repeal the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA).

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