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The NBA is seeking compensation from betting operators if sports gambling in the USA is legalized beyond Nevada.
Betting operators should pay each league 1% of the total amount bet on its games, NBA senior vice president and assistant general counsel Dan Spillane said in a statement delivered Wednesday to the New York Senate Standing Committee on Racing, Gaming, and Wagering.
“Sports leagues provide the foundation for sports betting while bearing the risks that sports betting imposes, even when regulated,” Spillane said in the statement. “Without our games and fans, there could be no sports betting. And if sports betting becomes legal in New York and other states, sports leagues will need to invest more in compliance and enforcement, including bet monitoring, investigations, and education.
“To compensate leagues for the risk and expense created by betting and the commercial value our product creates for betting operators, we believe it is reasonable for operators to pay each league 1% of the total amount bet on its games.”
Spillane noted that’s how sports gambling is legally regulated in countries such as Australia and France.
The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to rule by June in a decision that could pave the way for all states to allow gambling on sporting events. Currently, sports betting is allowed in Nevada and three other states with small sports lotteries.
In December, the court heard arguments regarding the 1992 Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, and it appeared that a majority of Supreme Court justices agreed that prohibiting sports betting in most states is unconstitutional.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has advocated nationwide legalized gambling under federal laws that states would follow. The progressive commissioner has noted that illegal gambling is a $400 billion dollar business in the USA, and it’s time to create a safe and legal way for fans to bet on games.
On Wednesday, Spillane detailed five key components to any future gambling legislation, including the league’s rights to restrict wagering on their games and the ability to gamble on the Internet and mobile devices.
Geoff Freeman, the president and CEO of the American Gaming Association, appreciates the NBA’s stance on legalized gambling across the country but did not support the league’s call for 1% compensation.
“We are pleased that the NBA today joined with the gaming industry in support of vigorously regulated sports wagering,” Freeman said in a statement. "We can all agree that the 25-year ban on sports wagering has been a failure in every regard. Now, let’s get real about eliminating the illegal market, protecting consumers and determining the role of government — a role that most certainly does not include transferring money from bettors to multi-billion dollar sports leagues.”
NBA spokesman Mike Bass countered: “Sports leagues provide the foundation for sports betting while bearing the risks it imposes, even when regulated. If sports betting is legalized federally or state by state, we will need to invest more in compliance and enforcement, and believe it is reasonable for operators to pay each league 1% of the total amount bet on its games to help compensate for the risk and expense created and the commercial value our product provides them. This is a similar approach to legally-regulated sports betting in other international jurisdictions.”
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