NFL seeks federal help to combat ‘illicit’ sports betting

The NFL outlined the league’s playing coverage and known as for federal help to handle the “illicit sports activities betting market” in a response letter despatched to a U.S. congresswoman Friday.

Alarmed by an uptick in betting-related controversies, U.S. Rep. Dina Titus (D-Nev.) in mid-June issued letters to commissioners and presidents of 12 outstanding sports activities leagues inquiring about their playing insurance policies and efforts to guard the integrity of the video games within the fashionable panorama.

Thirty-four states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico have launched authorized betting markets following a ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court docket in 2018.

“There isn’t a increased precept on the NFL than safeguarding the integrity of the sport,” Jonathan Nabavi, the league’s vice chairman of public coverage and authorities affairs, wrote within the response letter to Titus obtained by ESPN.

“Our efforts to uphold recreation integrity have been ongoing all through the historical past of the league and our dedication has not wavered for the reason that Supreme Court docket’s choice. The elevated accessibility of sports activities betting has made our efforts much more essential.”

Titus mentioned in an announcement Friday that she despatched the letters to leagues as a result of “it’s extra essential than ever to keep up the integrity of video games for gamers, bettors and bookmakers.” She expressed disappointment that the NFL didn’t handle a few of her particular questions, together with what number of ongoing investigations into potential playing violations there have been.

“It’s extremely disappointing that the NFL has declined to reply our questions and as a substitute pivoted to unlawful sports activities betting typically of their response. It makes one marvel what they’re attempting to cover,” Titus mentioned.

The NFL has suspended 10 gamers in 2023 and 12 general for violating the league’s playing coverage for the reason that Supreme Court docket struck down the Skilled and Beginner Sports activities Safety Act of 1992, the federal statute that had restricted authorized betting to primarily Nevada.

Whereas authorized sportsbooks have unfold across the nation, the underground betting market stays prevalent, and the NFL believes the shortage of safeguards with bookmakers who function outdoors of the regulated atmosphere within the U.S. poses an integrity risk.

“We consider that extra consideration and sources are wanted from lawmakers and law-enforcement to handle the illicit sports activities betting market, which nonetheless has the ability of incumbency,” Nabavi wrote.

Final yr, Titus, who co-chairs the Congressional Gaming Caucus, despatched a letter to the Division of Justice, asking for investigations into unlawful sportsbook operators.

Along with the suspensions within the NFL, collegiate sports activities has seen an uptick in betting controversies. This week, 4 present and previous student-athletes at Iowa State, together with Cyclones’ quarterback Hunter Dekkers, and three student-athletes on the College of Iowa had been criminally charged in a sports activities betting investigation.

NCAA President Charlie Baker, in a response to Titus on July 12, disclosed that there had been 175 sports activities betting violations since 2018 in NCAA sports activities.

“I agree with you that along with the alternatives it creates, sports activities betting brings threat that might undermine the integrity of competitors,” Baker wrote to Titus.

The Iowa Racing and Playing Fee mentioned Thursday it had not seen proof of any recreation manipulation within the latest betting scandals at Iowa and Iowa State.

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