CEI Calls Foul on NCAA Attempt to Block Sports Betting

Washington, D.C., August 12, 2009—The Competitive Enterprise Institute today criticized a federal law that is being used by the National Collegiate Athletic Association and major sports leagues to restrict sports gambling in the United States.

The groups are attempting use the 1992 Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act to block Delaware’s decision to legalize per-game sports gambling. Previously, only Nevada and Montana allowed such gambling while Delaware offered other forms of gambling on sports.

Many sports leagues argue that widespread sports gambling damages the perception of the games as free from corruption. Along with the four major professional sports leagues, the NCAA filed an injunction to prevent the per-game sports gambling that is set to begin in Delaware in September. When the injunction was denied the NCAA announced that no championship games would be played in states allowing sports gambling.

“As a private organization the NCAA has every right to ban championship games from being played in states that permit per-game gambling, if it sees this as necessary to protect the reputation of its games among spectators. But what the NCAA should not be doing is attempting to expand the scope of an improper federal ban,” said CEI policy analyst Michelle Minton.

 “There are plenty of ways to discourage people who would use wagering in manner that diminishes the integrity of sports, but it is not the role of the government to ban gambling of any kind,” said Minton, who contends that the actions of the NCAA call attention to the need to repeal the federal laws restricting sports gambling.

CEI is a non-profit, non-partisan public interest group that studies the intersection of regulation, risk, and markets.