Under federal law, sports gambling is prohibited everywhere in the United States except for Nevada, Delaware, Montana and Oregon, but one very high-profile politician is perhaps signaling his desire to see that law changed.

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) was a guest of ESPN’s “Capital Games” podcast recently and said Congress should take another look at the ban. Gambling911.com has the transcript:

“We need a debate in Congress,” McCain said. “We need to have a talk with the American people, and we need to probably have hearings in Congress on the whole issue so we can build consensus.” …
When asked why Nevada should be allowed to offer sports betting, but no other state, McCain replied, “I think you’ve got an excellent point, and that’s why it’s an excellent issue.”

The state of New Jersey has long sought to legalize sports gambling in an attempt to prop up Atlantic City’s sagging casino industry, which has been devastated by casino openings in neighboring states. In 2011, the state’s residents voted to legalize sports gambling in a referendum, and Gov. Chris Christie signed the measure in the law. Spurred by the major professional sports leagues and the NCAA, a federal judge blocked the law.

Last year, Christie and the state’s lawmakers attempted to exploit what they saw as a loophole in the federal law that bans sports gambling, repealing the state’s ban but saying the state would have no role in the regulation of sports gambling in the state. Once again, the sports leagues and the NCAA asked a judge to step in and again were successful in halting New Jersey’s plans. The state has appealed this latest ruling, and the case will be heard by the Third Circuit Court of Appeals later this spring, with some speculating that it eventually will come before the U.S. Supreme Court.

In September, however, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said that legalized sports gambling in the entire United States is inevitable, and that the league would look to somehow profit off it should the ban be repealed.