U.S. Congressman Voices ‘Concern’ Over Skin Gambling, Says ‘Out Of Date’ Gambling Laws Leave Public Vulnerable

Written By Chris Grove on March 1, 2017 - Last Updated on February 11, 2021

[toc]Skin gambling has made it onto the radar of the federal government.

That’s after US Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) issued a statement voicing concern regarding unregulated online gambling and underage betting in which he specifically singled out esports gambling and skin gambling.

Get a primer on the market for skin betting here. Our estimates put the total annual handle for skin gambling sites at north of $5 billion.

Pallone points finger at federal gambling law

“Gambling is taking new forms—from daily fantasy sports, to betting on e-sports, and even online casino games using virtual ‘skins’ instead of cash—that attempt to bypass the law,” Pallone said in the statement.

Pallone has been vocal on the issue of daily fantasy sports in the past, leading a Congressional hearing on the issue last May.

But today’s statement marks what appears to be his initial interest in skin gambling.

“Current federal gambling laws are hopelessly out of date, leaving the American public vulnerable to unscrupulous behavior. No matter the form of the games, we must ensure integrity, accountability, and basic consumer protections, including appropriate age limits, are in place.”

Issue crosses over into Pallone’s sports betting advocacy

Pallone’s reference to “out of date” federal gambling laws is no accident. It’s a direct link to the issue that is likely driving Pallone’s attention to daily fantasy sports and esports betting: regulated sports betting.

Currently, states are effectively prohibited from regulating sports betting due to a federal statute generally referred to as PASPA.

Background on PASPA here.

New Jersey has been waging a years-long battle with the federal government over the state’s right to introduce regulated sports betting, a battle that now sits before the Supreme Court.

There are regulated casinos in the state, along with regulated online casinos in New Jersey, but legislative attempts to introduce sports betting have been stymied by federal opposition.

Pallone has been an aggressive advocate for New Jersey on the issue, recently introducing legislation that would allow New Jersey to sidestep the PASPA prohibition.

Pallone may find skin gambling, a controversial subject that pushes a number of media buttons, an especially effective way to draw attention to his sports betting advocacy, meaning that additional statements – and possibly even a hearing – touching upon the topic are likely to follow.

Federal attention could have broader implications

Regardless of where Pallone heads next with the issue, the fact that skin gambling is now a part of the federal conversation may carry significant implications for any number of ongoing stories, including:

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