Three Giant Lies Sen. Orrin Hatch Just Told About Sports Betting

Written By Dustin Gouker | Last Updated
LOL sports betting Hatch

Let’s start here: Sen. Orrin Hatch — the person who is partially responsible for the debacle that was the federal sports betting ban — should be everyone’s last choice for advancing a bill responsible for regulation of wagering in the United States.

But that’s what we’re going to get anyway, as Hatch is the one who will spearhead Congressional legislation. (Hatch was one of the authors of PASPA.)

Hatch doubled down with what was a pretty awful op-ed about his plans for regulation and the history of sports betting. So let’s get to the biggest whoppers Hatch wrote.

No. 1: ‘The indisputable success of PASPA…’

“The indisputable success of PASPA makes the Supreme Court’s decision to invalidate this law all the more devastating,” Hatch wrote.

What in the bleeping world is Hatch talking about? PASPA, enacted in 1992, was a disaster in just about any measure:

  • The law was on the books for decades despite the fact it was unconstitutional.
  • It helped create a thriving black market for sports betting that is estimated to be in the tens of billions of dollars. Nevada sports betting has existed with few problems during that time.
  • US leagues seem to unanimously agree that regulation is better than trying to institute a blanket ban; Congress could still do that, if it wanted to, just not in the way it wrote PASPA. So, if PASPA was so great, Hatch should just be rewriting it. But, guess what? It sucked.

Anyway, this stupid sentence is pretty much enough to discount anything Hatch ever says about sports betting until the end of time.

No. 2 The Supreme Court hurt ‘the integrity of athletics’

More from Hatch:

By striking down PASPA, the Supreme Court has effectively laid the groundwork for the legalization of sports betting across all 50 states, upending decades of established law that has long protected the integrity of athletics.

Again, if anything the nation’s highest court did the opposite. PASPA is a “ban” that looked great on paper but does almost nothing to stop illegal wagering of any type. Now, states (or the federal government) have a chance to effectively regulate something that was incredibly widespread.

Get out of here with this take, Orrin.

No. 3: Sports betting is an ‘an existential threat to the games we know and love’


Betting has been going on US sports via both regulated and illegal means for more than a century. The leagues have existed, and will continue to exist, no matter what happens with sports gambling.

Not mentioned in Hatch’s list of really old sports betting scandals — none of which have anything to do with a regulated sports betting market — was the NBA/Tim Donaghy mess. The NBA seems to be doing just fine a decade after that.

To claim that something changed in the past week is to ignore reality. There’s plenty of wagering already taking place on the major pro sports leagues and college sports, and we haven’t reached the end of times, like Hatch would like us to believe.

Anyway, this kind of hyperbole is all over the place since PASPA was struck down. It’s just more concerning from the person who also thinks PASPA was a great success. And from the person who is apparently going to try to craft our nation’s sports betting policy.