Player Associations Wants Seat at Legalized Sports Betting Table

Player Associations Wants Seat at Legalized Sports Betting TableWe’re all aware that professional sports leagues in the United States want a piece of the sports betting pie if New Jersey wins its case in the Supreme Court, but it now appears that the players associations want their fair share, too. In fact, organizations representing the four major professional leagues (MLBPA, NBPA, NFLPA and NHLPA) released a statement recently saying:
“Betting on sports may become widely legal, but we cannot allow those who have lobbied the hardest for sports gambling to be the only ones controlling how it would be ushered into our businesses. The athletes must also have a seat at the table to ensure that players’ rights and the integrity of our games are protected.”
PASPA of 1992
The Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (PASPA) outlaws sports betting in the United States, with the exceptions of Nevada, Oregon, Montana, and Delaware. Interestingly, more states had the opportunity to introduce sports betting industries at the time, as those with regulated casino gambling for the ten years prior to PASPA were given the opportunity to be grandfathered into the sports betting bill. Nevertheless, just those states mentioned above chose to do so, with Nevada the only state offering the full range of sports betting products.
NJ  Sports Betting Challenge
The status quo started to change a few years back, though, after New Jersey began looking into legalizing sports betting in the state in order to bolster its ailing gambling economy. The move was approved through a referendum and legislation on the matter was even passed, quickly prompting a challenge from pro leagues (NFL, MLB, NBA, and NHL) and the NCAA which subsequently prevented New Jersey from progressing any further. The Garden State responded by taking the matter to court, claiming that PASPA violated states rights, with the Supreme Court last year agreeing to take a look at the case.
A Supreme Court ruling is expected some time this spring, with gaming analysts increasingly optimistic that a decision will be made favoring New Jersey. The leagues also seem to understand this and are currently lobbying to swing future regulation in their favor. The MLB and NBA, for instance, have contacted various state legislatures in an effort to make sure regulations suit their own needs, with one of their key pushes involving a 1% “integrity fee” that the leagues want to impose on all sports bets made, amounting to around a quarter of all profit earned by sportsbook.
Bear in mind, however, that integrity is the concern leagues always raise when arguing against gambling, with the issue used as a well known trope these days. In fact, everyone knows that sports regulation is put in place to prevent and punish a range of different illegal activities, such as point shaving and spot-fixing. Nevertheless, leagues and players still use integrity as an excuse to further their goals, even though they understand legalized sports betting has the potential to bring a lot more interest to sports in general.
Enter the Players Association
Meanwhile, players associations representing various sports have now decided to throw their hat into the ring with a short statement, essentially saying that the people who lobbied for legal gambling shouldn’t be the only people making the laws, and that the players should be able to have a seat at the table to protect their rights and the integrity of the sports.
The unions also mentioned privacy and publicity rights, although they didn’t go into detail on this. Nonetheless, it likely refers to the names of players being used for prop bets, meaning that players want compensation for the sportsbook using their names for bets.
Basically, however, the whole situation can be summed up as players wanting their own share of the action. The MLB and NBA have already started pushing for a massive money grab, despite the extra revenue sports betting would generate for their leagues, so player associations are now essentially arguing that if leagues are to receive some money from a legalized sports betting industry across the US then they should also be entitled to some, too.

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