Sports Betting Notice: Outgoing Senator Hatch and Senator Schumer Introduce Federal Sports Betting Bill

NIGA Member Tribes

Chairman Ernest L. Stevens Jr.
Jason C. Giles, Executive Director
Danielle Her Many Horses, Deputy Executive Director/General Counsel

Sports Betting Notice: Outgoing Senator Hatch and Senator Schumer Introduce Federal Sports Betting Bill
December 21st, 2018

On May 14, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA), which opened up the Sports Betting Market to Indian and Commercial Gaming. In the ensuing months since the Supreme Court's decision, two (2) Tribes and (5) States and the District of Columbia have authorized sports betting in their respective jurisdictions.

Yesterday, retiring Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY), introduced a sports betting bill in the closing days of the legislative year. Senator Hatch stated that he realizes this Bill will not be considered by the current Congress and will need to be reintroduced next year. The National Indian Gaming Association (NIGA) has attached a summary of the Bill (below) for your review - it is anticipated that the bill which will be reintroduced next year will contain new provisions and major changes.

Federal Legislative Focus

In our advocacy role, NIGA has continued to monitor the Federal Legislative landscape on sports betting and there appears to be very little support in Congress for addressing the Supreme Court's PASPA decision. In fact, Mississippi Choctaw and Santa Ana Pueblo are already operating sports book operations. Five (5) States legalized sports betting and just this week the District of Columbia authorized sports betting at their professional arenas in D.C., to be expanded at a later date through mobile sports betting in the nation's capital.

In States that have Reservations in their borders and are looking at authorizing sports betting, NIGA continues to advocate that our Sports Betting Resolution principles are adhered to:

  • Tribes have governmental authority to regulate gaming
  • Sports betting revenues will not be subject to taxation for Tribal Governments
  • Customers access for Tribes is permissible where sports betting is legal
  • Tribal rights under IGRA and Gaming Compacts are protected
  • IGRA will not be opened up for amendments
  • Tribal Governments receive a positive economic benefit in any federal sports betting legalization proposal
  • Indian Tribes have the right to opt in to a federal regulatory scheme to ensure access to broad-based markets
  • Integrity and protection of the game and patron protections are of high importance
  • Any consideration of mobile, on-line or internet gaming must also adhere to these principles

These principles would also apply to any federal legislative proposals.

NIGA will continue to gather Tribal Gaming information on a Regional and State basis through Tribal Gaming Regional Associations, State and Tribal Governments, and of course NIGA's Tribal membership.

Maintaining a seat at the table with all Stakeholders

NIGA will review and analyze legislative proposals in the states and take its direction from the Tribes in those states as to how they can work with their State Government to make sports betting a viable economic and regulated activity for Tribal Government Gaming. Within each state, there are numerous factors to consider, the most important being the terms of your State- Tribal Compact.

NIGA is also participating in the AGA Sports Betting Task Force which continues to meet quarterly and is seeking Indian Country's input. Participation at NIGA's Tradeshow and other commissioner training events are part of NIGA's strategic efforts to keep Indian Country informed of the latest developments.

NIGA will remain diligent in our efforts to maintain our seat at the table and ensure that Tribal Government Gaming is not only heard, but is also considered in a meaningful way as the country moves forward with sports betting. Please do not hesitate to contact us at, or, for more information.

We look forward to the New Year and may you and your family have a Happy Holiday Season.