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By: Steven Stradbrooke of

A draft of a new US federal sports betting bill would allow the US Attorney General to potentially veto state-level legislation, while also requiring bookmakers to use official league-supplied data for wagering purposes.

The new draft legislation, first spotted by ESPN scribe David Purdum, is the first significant effort to reinstate some level of federal control over betting since the US Supreme Court struck down the federal betting prohibition this spring.

Purdum reported that the bill had emerged from the office of Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT), who is set to retire after the current lame duck session of Congress. Hatch (pictured) has previously secured the public support of Rep. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), while Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI) recently promised a “legislative response” to the federal betting disempowerment was in the works.

With Hatch set to exit the political scene when the lame duck session concludes, he may not have the clout with which to push through something as controversial as a betting bill. Some Republicans may also find the bill an uncomfortable reminder of the states’ rights issues that brought about the demise of the previous federal betting bill. But for argument’s sake, read on…

The draft bill’s most striking element is the requirement for all state-level sports betting legislation to be submitted to the US Attorney General for approval. The AG would have 180 days in which to mull things over, and could veto any legislation that didn’t meet minimum standards. Even if the AG okays a bill, the state would have to apply for its renewal every three years.

It’s unclear from the draft whether this inspection would apply retroactively to states that had already approved their regulated betting markets prior to the new federal bill’s passage. Seven states have already launched legal wagering markets in the six months since the Supreme Court decision.

State-licensed betting operators would be required to use official league-supplied data for wagering purposes, at least until December 31, 2022. After that date, an operator could potentially use “legally obtained” data that offers “substantially similar speed, accuracy, and consistency” to that of the league-supplied product.

Operators would also be required to provide anonymized sports betting information to a nonprofit ‘national sports wagering clearinghouse,’ a central registry for ensuring no country-wide suspicious betting patterns emerge. The info is to be submitted “in real time or as soon as practicable, but not later than 24 hours after” a wager is placed with the operator.

Operators would also have to file suspicious transaction reports to the national clearinghouse and cooperate with any subsequent state or federal investigations of these transactions. The clearinghouse would also control a national register of excluded bettors, be they self-excluded or barred from betting because of some sketchy behavior.

The 0.25% cut of wagering handle that the federal government currently claims via excise tax would now be folded into a ‘wagering trust fund.’ This fund would be used for running the clearinghouse and other wagering-related programs.

The draft would amend the 1961 Wire Act – which bans the transmission of wagering info over state lines – to permit operators to ‘lay off’ wagers with books in other states. This would be done by allowing interstate sports wagering compacts with other states and Indian tribes involved in gaming in those states. These compacts would also be subject to the AG’s approval.

The draft also takes aim at internationally licensed online sportsbooks that compete with state-licensed operators by targeting registrants of “nondomestic domain name[s] used by an internet site dedicated to unlicensed sports wagering” and any “owner or operator of an internet site dedicated to unlicensed sports wagering accessed through a nondomestic domain name.”

Payment processors would be required to prohibit transactions between unauthorized betting sites and US residents, while websites would be forbidden from accepting advertising promoting unauthorized sites.

The draft also includes a version of the infamous ‘bad actor’ clause, which in this case, would prohibit states from licensing any betting operator who accepted wagers from US residents after the 2006 passage of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act.

There’s even a clause that suggests international operators could be targeted for enforcement action if they offer “unlicensed sports wagering on sporting events that take place in the United States,” which appears to bar any international operator from taking wagers on US sports from anyone, not just US residents. The US really does put the ‘extra’ in extraterritorial jurisdiction, don’t they?

By: iGaming Business

US states would be required to have betting legislation approved by the US Attorney General and purchase official major league data under plans for federal oversight outlined in a leaked Congressional draft bill.

The comprehensive legislation would force states to apply for approval from the Attorney General when implementing new sports betting laws and regulations. However it does not specify if this would be required retrospectively for those states where betting is already legal and regulated.

In a nod to the sports leagues and those lobbying for integrity fees, all operators would be required to use official league data until at least 2023. A National Sports Wagering Clearinghouse would be founded to monitor for any unusual betting patterns, while the Sports Bribery Act of 1964 would be strengthened by criminalising the act of betting based on non-public information.

Looking beyond state borders, the draft bill would alter the Wire Act of 1961 to allow sportsbooks to operate across state lines through compacts. understands the 37-page discussion draft was drawn up and circulated in the US Senate. 

The document is neither titled or dated and it is unclear who precisely the author has sought to discuss it with. Some media reports suggest the author was retiring Utah Senator Orrin Hatch (pictured), one of the authors of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) in 1992 who announced plans to progress federal legislation immediately after its repeal in May. Hatch, who is to retire at the end of this month, has yet to comment on the document.

Responding to the leak, the American Gaming Association (AGA) reiterated its support for state autonomy in betting regulation.

“Since the Supreme Court’s ruling in May, the AGA has consistently maintained that federal legislation regarding sports betting is not necessary,” said Chris Cylke, AGA’s vice president of government relations.

“That underlying position remains unchanged. At the same time, we remain committed to maintaining an open and constructive dialogue with policymakers considering sports betting legislation at any level of government.”

In May, Hatch described his fears of a “Wild West world of sports gambling” following the “devastating” repeal of PASPA.

Already looking to federal governance of sports betting he said in a statement: “Through balanced legislation, I believe we can create federal standards that not only align with constitutional principles but also uphold the integrity of the sports we love.”

While some have pointed to Hatch as the author of the bill, its text is similar to plans outlined in a briefing by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer in August. At the time Schumer proposed a requirement that all sportsbooks only use official league data.

The leak comes two months after the ‘Post-PASPA: An Examination of Sports Betting in America’ hearing on Capitol Hill, when organisations such as the AGA and National Football League (NFL) were among those to give testimony to the Judiciary Committee.

In his closing remarks, hearing chair Jim Sensenbrenner suggested that the federal authorities must have some involvement in the oversight of betting across the country. “For Congress to do nothing is the worst possible alternative," he said.

Following the repeal of PASPA, seven states now have legal, state-regulated sports betting industries, with Pennsylvania and Rhode Island the most recent market entrants.

500,000 girls in the U.S. are at risk of female genital mutilation. With a ban on the practice struck down, we need new legislation to protect them.

For more than two decades, underage girls in this country have been federally protected from the horrific practice of female genital mutilation (FGM). The ritualistic cutting or removal of a young girl’s external genitalia is an anachronistic act that occurs mostly in parts of Africa, the Middle East and a few countries in Asia. Last month, during a trial of a Michigan doctor accused of performing FGM on nine minor girls, a federal judge ruled that the law banning FGM is unconstitutional. Now, Congress and the states must act immediately to re-enact FGM protections. 

FGM is decried internationally for its cruelty. It is denounced by the World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) as a violation of basic human rights and a form of child abuse. At its most basic, this practice is rooted in the desire to control a woman’s sexuality. Physicians worldwide agree that FGM is medically unnecessary, and the procedure poses physical, sexual, and psychological dangers for the young victims. These girls, sometimes only a few days old, are subjected to an act that will have a profound negative effect on their lives. 

Michigan ruling was misguided

In the Michigan case, the defendants were charged under the 1996 statute that banned FGM on minors. In their motion to dismiss, the defense claimed that Congress had overstepped its constitutional authority by enacting this statute. Judge Bernard Friedman agreed with this position and ruled the law unconstitutional.

Judge Friedman’s ruling rests on his belief that Congress, under principles of federalism, lacks the authority to prohibit this activity under the Commerce Clause because it is not a “commercial activity.”  I share those views in some respects. And perhaps, Congress should address the judge’s concerns to make clear the federal aspect of this crime. But this ruling is nevertheless misguided and wrong. 

Judge Friedman is too quick to dismiss the interstate “market” for this horrid procedure.  In his decision, he rejects the comparison of the FGM marketplace to that of other illicit goods, like marijuana or child pornography.  But in his view, because there are only “…a small number of alleged victims” and not billions of dollars at stake, there is no real market for FGM. 

This reasoning fails on two fronts. First, this case absolutely demonstrates an interstate marketplace. Five of the victims were transported across state lines for the sole purpose of undergoing this mutilation. A relatively small marketplace is still a marketplace. Second, while there are the nine victims in this case, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported in 2012 that there are likely more than 500,000 women and girls in the United States who are at risk of being victims of this procedure.  Today these women are now at a greater risk as a result of this ruling.

We need to protect at risk girls

The Trump administration should appeal this decision immediately. This law has protected girls from FGM for 22 years. To accept this ruling without contention would be a dereliction of our duty to protect our young girls from this this abuse.

Without a federal ban in place, FGM is now legal in 23 states. Unless these states act swiftly to ban the practice, more of America’s young girls remain at risk. While Judge Friedman suggests that FGM can be prosecuted under existing assault statutes, this especially barbaric form of child abuse — being masqueraded as a religious practice — deserves to be addresses explicitly in our criminal code.

For my part, I intend to introduce legislation early next year to reinstitute a federal ban on this practice. The message should be clear to the women and girls of America — they are protected from this barbaric practice.

Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner represents Wisconsin’s Fifth Congressional District. He is a former Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee and current Chairman of the Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations.

You can view this piece online here.

By: WisPolitics Capitol Report

A U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson spokesman says the Oshkosh Republican would back a bill aiming to delist the gray wolf in all but two states should it be taken up in the Senate.

But the office of U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin didn’t say whether she’d support the legislation from 7th CD U.S. Rep. Sean Duffy seeking to remove the wolves from the Endangered Species Act. The bill, which cleared the House earlier this month, would lift protections for the wolves across the continental United States.

A Johnson spokesman this week noted Johnson has been working on the issue “for a while.” Johnson in 2015 introduced a bill that would direct the Department of the Interior to reissue final rules related to the endangered listing of the gray wolf in Wisconsin, Michigan, Minnesota and Wyoming. He reintroduced the legislation last year.

But a Baldwin spokeswoman in an email expressed preference for the Madison Democrat’s HELP for Wildlife Act, which would delist the gray wolf in Wyoming and the western Great Lakes as well as reauthorize and provide funding for a series of conservation programs.

The spokeswoman noted Duffy’s bill “has not yet come up in the Senate” and didn’t answer whether Baldwin would vote for the Wausau Republican’s legislation if it does hit the floor.

The comments follow the House passage of Duffy’s “Manage Our Wolves Act.” The bipartisan legislation — passed on a 196-180 vote — aims to remove the gray wolf from the list of endangered or threatened species and reinstate a rule that removed the gray wolf in the western Great Lakes region from the list.

“If you live in Wisconsin, especially northern Wisconsin, it might be necessary for us to actually manage this population because it's good for the environment,” Duffy said in a statement following the bill’s passage. “Frankly, I believe that our states are far more in tuned in understanding the ecosystem of their state than bureaucrats in Washington.”

The legislation garnered support from U.S. Reps. Mike Gallagher, R-Green Bay; Glenn Grothman, R-Glenbeulah; and Ron Kind, D-La Crosse. U.S. Reps. Mark Pocan, D-Town of Vermont; and Gwen Moore, D-Milwaukee, voted against the bill, while U.S. Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, R-Menomonee Falls, did not vote.

State Sen. Tom Tiffany, R-Minocqua, praised Duffy’s work and urged Baldwin to back the bill in a joint statement last week with Michigan Sen. Tom Casperson.

Tiffany this session introduced a bill that would ban police from enforcing state or federal law aimed at managing Wisconsin’s wolf population. The language would also prohibit the state Department of Natural Resources from spending any money to manage wolves — other than paying claims for any losses they cause.

The Obama administration in 2012 first delisted the gray wolf in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan. In 2014, the wolves were returned to the federal endangered species list after a lawsuit, resulting in the end of wolf trapping and hunting.

By: CBS 58 Newsroom

MADISON, WI (CBS 58) -- Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker has ordered flags of the United States and the State of Wisconsin to be flown at half-staff beginning December 1, in honor of former President George Herbert Walker Bush.  Flags will remain at half-staff until sunset on December 30, 2018.

Upon learning of the passing of the former President, the Governor issued the following statement.

“So sorry to hear of the death of President George Herbert Walker Bush. In 1988, I cast my first vote for President for him. I am proud of that vote today. He was a true gentleman and our country is better because of his service. Tonette and I send our love and prayers to the Bush family as America mourns the loss of one of our greatest patriots.”

Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson issued this statement via email and twitter.

“Throughout his life, George H.W. Bush fought for freedom and prosperity for all Americans. From his service in World War II as a naval aviator to his efforts organizing international disaster relief, the nation and world will never forget his years of public service.”

In a tweet, Senator Tammy Baldwin said of the former President.

"I have a lot of respect for President George H.W. Bush's lifetime commitment to serving our country. His humility and kindness serve as an example for all who follow him in public service. My thoughts are with the entire Bush family."

Wisconsin Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner issued this statement after learning of the death of the former President.

"My deepest condolences go out to the Bush family, and I join our nation in mourning the passing of George H.W. Bush.  The former president was a heroic veteran, accomplished statesman, and lifelong public servant whose sense of duty and devotion to our country stands as a shining example for all.  He lived a remarkable life, and our nation is stronger today because of him. I am grateful for his contributions to society and will keep his loved ones in my prayers. May he rest in peace."

Former Wisconsin Governor and Health and Human Services Secretary under George W Bush issued this statement on the death of the elder President Bush.

“Today we mourn the loss of a leader who has long-served as a shining example of selfless leadership and compassion. George H. Bush held a steadfast belief in a greater calling, underlined by his service to our country as a World War II hero, public servant, elected official and through countless philanthropic efforts. There was President Bush, a man of great character that our nation truly admired and also the George Bush whom was genuine, sincere and quick-witted that I was fortunate to call a friend. The loss of George H. Bush weighs heavy, may the example he set inspire tomorrow’s leaders.”

The 41st President of the United States died Friday in Houston.   He was 94-years-old. 

Brookfield, WICongressman Jim Sensenbrenner (WI-05) issued the following statement after the death of the 41st President of the United States, President George H.W. Bush:

"My deepest condolences go out to the Bush family, and I join our nation in mourning the passing of George H.W. Bush.

The former president was a heroic veteran, accomplished statesman, and lifelong public servant whose sense of duty and devotion to our country stands as a shining example for all. 

He lived a remarkable life, and our nation is stronger today because of him. I am grateful for his contributions to society and will keep his loved ones in my prayers. May he rest in peace."

By: Andrew Clancy Rogers of Green and Spiegel LLP

When Congress reconvenes in Washington following the Thanksgiving holiday, it may be Irish Nationals that have most cause to be grateful.

In a bipartisan effort, Massachusetts Democratic Congressman Richard Neal and Wisconsin Republican Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner have introduced a bill to Congress (H.R. 7100) that proposes adding Irish Nationals to the E-3 “Australian Special Occupation” Program. The E-3 program provides 10,500 visas each fiscal year to Australians entering the U.S. to “perform services in a specialty occupation”. The E-3 visa classification is very similar in substance to the H-1B classification, except that it is only available to Australians and as such, in the twelve years that the E-3 program has existed, the program has yet to reach the stated cap of 10,500 visas per fiscal year. Therein lays the opportunity: this bipartisan bill proposes that 50% of these 10,500 visas should be made available to Irish nationals.

This is welcome news for Irish nationals seeking to work in the United States. The E-3 visa is one of the most efficient U.S. visa options for Australians. Applicants may apply directly at a U.S. consulate (thus avoiding lengthy processing times with USCIS), the visas are granted for 2 year periods (renewable indefinitely), and spouses of E-3 visa holders are permitted to apply for employment authorization documents. Further, the proposed cap of 5,250 would not apply to E-3 extensions, and E-3 visa holders may be the beneficiaries of Immigrant Visas (although they are still required to intend to depart the U.S. upon termination of their E-3 status).

This significant addition to the U.S. immigration system will not only benefit Irish nationals seeking employment in the United States, but will also open up an additional talent reservoir for U.S. employers. Green and Spiegel remains cautiously optimistic and will be monitoring the development of this legislation closely. 

By: Rachel Farrell and Laura Larkin of the Irish Independent

Thousands of Irish citizens will be able to avail of a visa to work in the United States under proposed legislation passed by the lower house in the US Congress.

The E-3 work visa, a two-year renewable visa currently reserved for Australian nationals, would under the bill which passed through the House of Representatives become available to Irish applicants.

It is for workers in "special occupations" - there is no prescribed list of jobs but the requirement mandates a specialised knowledge.

Only unused visas, not taken up by Australians, would be issued to Irish citizens under the proposed changes.

The bill must now be cleared by the Senate where it needs unanimous consent.

Work has been ongoing, spearheaded by the Department of Foreign Affairs, to gain access for Irish people to the coveted scheme over the past number of months.

Ireland's special envoy to the US, John Deasy, welcomed the bill's progress but said he was under no illusions over the difficulty the bill may face in getting through the Senate.

Tanáiste Simon Coveney has also welcomed the passage of the bill, describing it as a "positive development for future generations to travel to [the] USA". However, he acknowledged there was "still work to do".

To qualify for the scheme as it stands, a legitimate offer of work from a US employer must be in place, and have been accepted, for a person to apply.

The visa can be "indefinitely" renewed and a spouse can also work in the US but not their children.

If the law is passed, there will be a maximum of 5,000 visas awarded to Irish citizens. It will not be accessible to undocumented Irish in the US.

Jim Sensenbrenner, who helped to introduce the legislation, said the bill would add to the "great legacy" between Ireland and the United States.

By: Aidan Lonergan of the Irish Post

The E-3 visa is currently available to Australian nationals only and allows them to live and work in the US for up to two years with a spouse – but typically only half are used.

Last night, a bill (HR-7164) proposing that Irish people be able to apply for the remainder of unused visas offered to Australians was unanimously approved by the House.

The legislation now goes through to the Senate, and – if passed – would open up a wealth of opportunities to Irish workers looking to start a new life and explore fresh opportunities across the pond.

Around 10,500 E-3 visas are offered to Australians who wish to work in America every year, and up to 5,000 Irish citizens will be eligible for the scheme annually if the bill passes.


Republican Jim Sensenbrenner, who introduced the bill alongside Democrat Richard Neal, said the passing of the bill would add to the "great legacy" between Ireland and the US.

"The United States was built on hard work and the determination of immigrants – many of whom hail from Ireland. Through their perseverance, they have enabled this country to grow and prosper," he said.

"I believe in the value and opportunity that comes with legal immigration. I am pleased to have authored this legislation to make the process more efficient for one of our oldest allies, and add to the great legacy of cultural diversity celebrated in our country."

According to Mr Sensenbrenner, applicants based in Ireland would be able to apply directly at a US consulate but should expect lengthy processing times with US citizenship and immigration services.

He added that the visa would benefit both Irish and US citizens, including Americans who wish to "retire in Ireland" – as the Irish Government has promised to ease restrictions on US retirees if the bill passes.

"This significant addition to the U.S. immigration system will not only benefit Irish nationals seeking employment in the United States, but also ease restrictions on Americans wanting to live or retire in Ireland."

Fellow Republican congressman Steve Chabot said extending the E-3 visa to Irish citizens would recognise the special bond between the two countries.

"It's a simple bill that recognises the unique friendship and working relationship between the United States and Ireland," he said.

"HR-7164 allows nationals of Ireland to be eligible to apply for unused E3 non-immigrant visas."


Speaking after last night's House vote, Irish TD John Deasy urged supporters of the legislation to be cautious.

"The bill will now be sent to the US Senate and it needs to be passed thereby unanimous consent meaning that it will require the agreement of all 100 senators for this to be signed into law," he said.

"I am under no illusions as to how difficult that may be."

Unlike many other visas, E-3 permits the spouses of recipients to live and work in the US without restrictions, but not their children.

To qualify, applicants must be employed in a specialty occupation, have necessary qualifications and receive a legitimate offer of employment from the US.

By: Matt Rybaltowski of Forbes

In reaching a comprehensive gaming deal with Major League Baseball earlier this week, MGM Resorts International reverted back to a playbook that has dictated the company's sports betting strategy in the brief Post-PASPA era.

The partnership, which designates MGM Resorts as the first-ever official gaming partner of the league, follows similar deals with the NBA and the NHL over the last four months. MGM Resorts, one of the world's largest gaming operators, owns the distinction of being the only company in the casino industry to form partnerships with all three leagues. Though MGM  completed all three deals on a non-exclusive basis, it remains the lone sports book operator to land a sponsorship deal with a Big Four professional sports league since the Supreme Court struck down a federal ban on sports betting in May.

With the three leagues on board, MGM has yet to hook the big fish in the pond. On Wednesday, MGM Resorts International CEO Jim Murren delivered a keynote address at the ICE Sports Betting USA Conference in New York. Predictably, Murren was peppered with questions on MGM's relationship with the NFL. While Murren noted that MGM shares a philosophical alignment on sports betting with the three aforementioned leagues, the same can not be said for the NFL.

Without enumerating all of the differences between the sides, Murren addressed a key sticking point during his appearance. While the NFL has urged Congress to enact uniform standards for states that are considering the legalization of sports gambling, Murren said that MGM does not support a federal approach. Echoing that position, the American Gaming Association has consistently opposed legislative efforts for certain business interests that it believes can be accomplished through commercial relationships such as MGM's partnership with Major League Baseball. 

"It is not a coincidence that we have relationships with those three leagues and not currently with the NFL," Murren said. "This is an emerging field, I think anyone that drives a stake in the ground and says 'this is my position and I'm not willing to change,' is going to end up eating those words."

The NFL, meanwhile, has taken the position that any federal legislation pertaining to sports gambling should contain a provision that requires gaming operators to use official league data in determining betting outcomes. Since betting outcomes for prop wagers now depend on granular details such as the number of yards gained by a certain player, the need for the data has become more pronounced, NFL Executive Vice President Jocelyn Moore testified at a Congressional hearing in September. Following November's midterm elections, Rep. James Sensenbrenner warned that it could take Congress months, possibly years, to enact legislation on sports betting.

Casey Schwab, Vice President of Business and Legal Affairs for the NFL Players Association, indicated Wednesday that he favors a cautious approach in evaluating potential commercial relationships with gaming operators. To that end, the league may prefer to wait until Congress acts before entertaining such deals. Sensenbrenner, chair of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security and Investigations, outlined several pathways for Congress to explore in deciding whether federal legislation for sports betting is necessary. On one hand, Congress can adopt uniform federal standards, as NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell recommends. On the other, the federal government can defer completely to the states. The biggest mistake, Sensenbrenner argues, would be to do nothing. 

"We want to make sure that the framework is set up first and so does our league," Schwab said. "We don't want to go out there and do a deal without the proper underlining framework."

More immediately, Murren emphasized that there were several factors driving the deal with MLB. The agreement enables MGM to become an official partner of grassroots events such as the league's MLB Road Show in Japan. Though sports betting in Japan has been limited primarily to horse racing, recent legislation was passed over the summer that could lead to the opening of casinos nationwide, the Japan Times reported. As MGM waits to hear whether it will be awarded with a casino license in Japan, Murren is focused on promoting baseball with MLB across the country.

Furthermore, while Murren believes the deal could yield a reasonable return on investment from sports betting he appears more concerned in augmenting relationships with associations like MLB. When confronting significant regulatory and lobbying hurdles with the new sports betting environment, it will be valuable for the company to align with the leagues, said Adam Greenblatt, CEO of MGM GVC Interactive, a joint venture between MGM Resorts International and GVC Holdings.

Despite their differences, Murren also demonstrated a willingness to maintain a more fulsome relationship with the NFL. Over the next several months, he said MGM will target strategic relationships with NFL team owners comparable to one the company signed last month with the New York Jets.

Whether it is team owners or the leagues themselves, Murren seems determined to cultivate partnerships with those who share his view on sports betting as a unique value proposition.

"Our focus has been to develop philosophical alignments with the leagues as a way to build fan engagement and ensure the integrity of the product," Murren said. "Those three leagues have been willing to do that."