The Supreme Court’s decision last month to allow states to offer legal sports betting could have effects beyond just the professional and college ranks. While the, well, odds are slim, legalized wagers on high school contests are not beyond the realm of possibility.
In Pennsylvania, at least, not so fast. Leaders of the state’s prep sports governing body hope to stop such a notion in its tracks before it becomes a reality.
As PennLive.com reported, Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association executive director Dr. Bob Lombardi was at the state capitol Monday asking the Pennsylvania Athletic Oversight Committee to “support our attempt to petition the Pennsylvania Gaming Board to exclude interscholastic activities.”
Committee members, Rep. Robert Matzie (D-Ambridge), Rep. Gene DiGirolamo (R-Bucks) and Senator Jay Costa, all said they would support the PIAA in that motion, Penn Live reported.
“As the author of the original sports betting legislation, I’ll tell you that was not our intent to have interscholastic athletics,” Matzie said. “If there’s something we need to do legislatively, or if it’s as simple as making our thoughts known to the gaming control board, I’d be happy to do that.”
“It’s a concern, and our only issue was to get something on the books so it’s addressed,” Lombardi said after the meeting. “I wasn’t trying to suggest to them in any way, shape or form how to do things. My only suggestion was that it gets considered to stay away from high school sports because it would just absolutely ruin the experience that we are supposed to have as educational-based athletics.”
Lombardi told Penn Live that he walked away from Monday’s meeting “hopeful” that, at least in the Keystone State, high school athletics and legalized gambling won’t be mixing anytime soon.
Currently, Pennsylvania neighbors Delaware and New Jersey are the only states aside from Nevada that allow single-game sports betting.