The sports betting floodgates have been swinging open wildly for a number of months now, after the US Supreme Court removed PASPA, and Delaware sprung in to enact sport wagering legislation shortly ahead of New Jersey.

Before the landmark decision in May 2018, US sports leagues long standing opposition to such activity had begun to soften, as a whole new wave of debate begun to rage ahead of, and during, the roll-out across the US.

One such entity backing a legalised, licensed and regulated sports betting scene prior to the ruling was the PGA TOUR, which had been monitoring and actively lobbying legislators in various states.

Andy Levinson, Senior Vice President of Tournament Administration at the PGA TOUR, spoke to SBC Magazine about the advantages felt so far by the organisation, and what further benefits it expects moving forward.

“As states consider sports betting legislation, we feel that the voices of the sports leagues and the athletes should be heard,” said Levinson. “Rather than the discussions focusing solely on tax revenue and eliminating the black market – which are important elements to be considered – we are bringing subjects like integrity and consumer protections to the conversation as well.”

Integrity has been, is currently and will remain to be such a critical issue, with much said, and many potential developments expressed, regarding how to ensure the core product of each league can continue to be trusted, as sports betting continues its significant uptick.

Levinson elaborated on how the TOUR will ensure that high standards remain in place: “We are speaking directly to the legislators who will shape sports betting legislation at the state level,” he added. “To effectively protect the integrity of sports competition, there must be transparency between the regulators, the operators and the leagues.  

“Each one of those groups is incentivised to protect integrity. However, individually self-policing is not the most comprehensive and effective solution. That is why we are advocating that new laws include the sharing of information across operators and regulators.

“We also want to make sure that, as new betting markets are being developed, they are not creating unnecessary risk. So we would like to see laws that give the sports the ability to petition regulators to limit certain bet types that pose undue risk.”

Conversation in this space has seen federal oversight becomes a distinct possibility, with the introduction of a bill on exactly this topic having been introduced to the Department of Justice.

Levinson believes that the introduction of one organisation to deliver comprehensive oversight on a national, and not state by state level, is a logical and natural next step: “We feel that a national integrity body that has visibility to all betting activity across all operators and across state lines is the only way to achieve a holistic view,” he explained.

“If the operators and regulators are left to self-report irregularities, then the system could be easily exploited. They would inevitably miss patterns of corruption that span across operators or states.”

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