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US senators working on federal sports betting bill

New York Senator Chuck Schumer and Utah Senator Mitt Romney are collaborating on a federal sports betting legislation. They are supported by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), the collegiate sports body.

According to media reports, the legislation would be similar to the Sports Wagering Market Integrity Act, which was introduced in December 2018 by Schumer and now-retired Utah Senator Orrin Hatch (who has been replaced in the Senate by Romney). However, that bill was not assigned to a committee, in large part because it was introduced in the final days of an outgoing Congress.

The current project so far also hasn’t gained much traction, especially since this matter is being handled by states on their own. However, both senators got support from the National Collegiate Athletic Association, through its Vice President of Hearing Operations Naima Stevenson Starks.

“We are absolutely supportive of federal regulation. It’s fairly daunting to think that every state would have a different set of regulations. Having some minimum standards, we are very supportive and have been an active proponent of,” Naima Stevenson Starks told ESPN.

The NCAA argued in the past against legalized sports betting, stating that it’s bad for college athletics, which they believe should be kept pure and away from the influence of money. NCAA president Mark Emmert has previously hoped that betting on collegiate sports could be prohibited at the federal level.

Recently, the NCAA has been studying the impact of legalized sports betting and has put an increased emphasis on educating student-athletes about the potential issues they may face now that legal wagering is allowed in many US states. In addition, several territories that have regulated sports betting have included language prohibiting wagering on collegiate events within their borders, as well as on teams at colleges and universities in their states.

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