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Gaming and Sports Attorney Daniel Wallach: Embracing a legal sports betting environment in the U.S. at #boscon2017

Betting on Sports 2017 (12-15 September) will debate the changing sports betting landscape in the U.S., just a few months after the Supreme Court agreed to hear New Jersey’s challenge against PASPA.

We spoke to panellist Daniel Wallach, a Gaming and Sports Attorney at Becker & Poliakoff, about what he’s looking forward to at #boscon2017, why it’s important for him to deliver insight at the event, and what sports partnership has stood out over the last year.

SBC: Why is it important for you to speak at Betting on Sports?

DW: I will be speaking about the dynamic and ever-changing state of the U.S. sports betting landscape, and will be providing insight to your delegates on the obvious questions, such as: (1) when will be sports betting become more broadly legal in the U.S.? (2) where will it be legal? (3) what will happen in the New Jersey sports betting case now before the U.S. Supreme Court; (4) which states are poised to legalize sport betting as soon as the Supreme Court rules in favour of New Jersey (which I believe it will): (5) what other legal challenges are coming down the pike if New Jersey does not prevail; (6) what is the status of discussions in the U.S. Congress; (7) what type of legal and regulatory framework will be implemented in the coming years (e.g., state-only regulation as advocates by the American Gaming Association, or a comprehensive federal framework as advocated by the sports leagues?); and (8) what opportunities are available RIGHT NOW for European companies to enter the U.S, market in anticipation of sports betting becoming legal?

I have been closely following the U.S. sports betting saga since 2011, and have been at every federal court hearing in the New Jersey sports betting case (and, yes, I will also be attending the United States Supreme Court oral argument). I have had a front row seat at one of the most exciting and important legal developments affecting the U.S. gaming industry, and believe that I can offer unique insights on the likely next stages in the U.S., and when they will likely occur. I look forward to sharing my knowledge and insights with your delegates, and, of course, learning from them as well.

SBC: What are you looking forward to at Betting on Sports?

DW: The most exciting aspect of the conference is to finally connect with my peers and colleagues in the sports betting space. My focus over the last five years has been confined to the U.S. legal and regulatory environment. Recognizing that the sports betting community is global in nature, it will be exciting to exchange ideas with my counterparts in Europe, and, most of all, to learn from them. As the U.S. sports betting market is getting ready to take off, it will be critical for me to speak with (and learn from) individuals and operators who participate in mature legal markets.

I’m also looking forward to helping these companies position themselves to enter the U.S., marketplace. As someone who has developed key relationships with operators, regulators and lawmakers in the United States, this may be the right time to begin conversations with European companies that might be interested in entering the U.S. market. But most of all, I am looking forward to seeing my friends and colleagues, and forging new friendships.

SBC: Where can operators and affiliates work together more closely?

DW: As someone who is closely tracking the U.S. regulatory landscape, the most obvious starting point would be a coordinated lobbying effort by both sectors to change the law. To this point, the lobbying efforts have been one-sided: only the U.S. gaming industry has got its messaging out. I would like to see the leagues and betting companies working together to urge our Congress to change the law and permit sports betting. The leagues need to join the conversation now, and a joint lobbying effort would more effectively persuade lawmakers who might be on the fence.

Another area where I see the betting industry and sports leagues working together is through a national integrity platform in the U.S. When sports betting does become legal in the United States, I believe the optimal approach would be through having a comprehensive federal framework anchored by a national integrity platform in which the sports and betting industries work together via information-sharing and cooperation.

SBC: What sports betting partnership has stood out in the past 12 months?

DW: The data and integrity monitoring partnerships between Sportradar/Genius Sports and the major U.S. professional sports leagues are probably the most notable to me. For years, the U.S. sports leagues have had their head in the sands on sports betting.

It’s probably the strongest signal that the U.S. leagues are inching closer toward embracing a legal and regulated sports betting environment in the United States. It’s a harbinger of what’s coming in the United States. And sooner than most realize. 2018 will be the year. Finally.

SBC: Describe your perfect sporting event

DW: My favorite sporting event to watch live is the NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs. The energy-level and intensity during the hockey playoffs is a quantum step above the regular season. I often refer to it as Braveheart on Ice, without the mortal casualties of course. And rarely any fights.

The pinnacle for me would be watching the New York Rangers (my favorite team) playing in Game Seven of the Stanley Cup Finals. For my money, it’s the most exciting sport around.

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