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Overturning the federal law that limits sports betting, which was put in place 25 years ago, remains a long shot, although its repeal may no longer be a sucker bet.

The Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) faces challenges on two fronts: A draft bill introduced in the House of Representatives this week, and a potential Supreme Court review of New Jersey’s efforts to legalize sports gambling.

“Despite the federal gaming laws in place today, Americans are betting up to $400 billion a year on sporting events alone,” Rep. Frank Pallone (D-N.J.), the author of the bill and ranking member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, said in a news release. “It’s time to recognize that the laws are outdated, and the GAME Act will modernize them by increasing transparency, integrity, and consumer protections.”

The GAME Act, short for the Gaming Accountability and Modernization Enhancement Act, is Pallone’s latest and grandest attempt to challenge PASPA. He organized a hearing last May and has brought in gambling experts over the last year to help craft the proposed legislation.

“The point is allowing sports betting to be legal in states like New Jersey who want it,” Pallone told USA TODAY Sports after last year’s hearing.

Sports and gambling law attorney Daniel Wallach was one of the experts Pallone’s staff interviewed ahead of the draft bill’s release on Thursday.

“This is not going to be the final bill that will be passed by the U.S. Congress and signed into law by President Trump, but you need to start somewhere,” Wallach told USA TODAY Sports. “Until (Thursday), there was no meaningful legislation that has been introduced that would (clear the way) for sports betting. It is designed to kick-start the conversation with an endgame of 2018 or 2019.”

PASPA has effectively limited state-sponsored sports betting to one state: Nevada. Pallone’s proposed bill would allow each state to determine whether to legalize sports gambling as long as there are consumer protections in place, which include a ban on underage betting, safeguards against compulsive gambling and oversight that would to ensure “the integrity of the sporting event.”

Pallone’s home state has attempted for years to establish sports betting at casinos in Atlantic City and at racetracks. From a statewide referendum in 2011 to multiple bills passed by the state legislature, the federal courts have blocked those efforts.

New Jersey is seeking a Supreme Court review of last August’s decision by the full panel of the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals, which upheld a U.S. District Court ruling that its latest bid to legalize sports betting violated PASPA. The attorneys general for West Virginia, Arizona, Wisconsin, Mississippi and Louisiana have filed an amicus brief in support of New Jersey’s Supreme Court petition, known as a writ of certiorari.

The nation’s highest court receives up to 10,000 such requests each term and grants approximately 80. Those odds weren’t helped by a brief filed this week by the U.S. Solicitor General’s Office that concluded the writ should be denied.

A decision on whether New Jersey's case will be heard by the Supreme Court is expected in June.

“This is an issue that will emerge in future court battles, so why not just address it now?” said Wallach, a partner at the law firm Becker & Poliakoff. “This issue is ripe for review at this time, at this moment, at this juncture in the debate surrounding sports betting. There is no more appropriate time than now.”

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