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NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL Player Unions Issue Stateme

2018-04-13 10:29:39


A board displays odds for different bets on the NCAA college basketball tournament at the Westgate Superbook sports book, Thursday, March 15, 2018, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
John Locher/Associated Press

The players' associations from MLB, the NFL, NBA and NHL released a joint statement Thursday regarding the potential legality of sports betting: 

The Supreme Court is currently hearing an appeal by the state of New Jersey that the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) of 1992 is unconstitutional. The act "stopped the spread of betting beyond states that already had it," according to Ira Boudway and Eben Novy-Williams of Bloomberg.com.

Bloomberg's report noted New Jersey first attempted to legalize sports betting in 2011, only for lawsuits from the four major professional sports leagues and the NCAA to oppose the move.

New Jersey "says the federal government can directly set rules for sports betting or allow states a free hand, but, under the 10th Amendment, can't 'commandeer' states to do its bidding."

It's added lower courts have favored the leagues' arguments, but the Supreme Court could overturn the long-running prohibition, with a ruling expected at the end of June. 

"All signs point to New Jersey prevailing," gaming and sports attorney Daniel Wallach told Boudway and Novy-Williams.

If permitted, 19 states are ready to follow New Jersey's lead and legalize betting. Per Bloomberg, "Research firm Eilers & Krejcik Gaming LLC estimates that 32 states with a combined population of more than 215 million would be on board by 2023, creating a $6 billion industry."

It isn't surprising that the players' unions from the various professional leagues in the United States would want a cut of that potential revenue. The leagues themselves will likely seek a cut, as NBA senior vice president and assistant general counsel Dan Spillane told the New York Senate Standing Committee on Racing, Gaming, and Wagering in January.

"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 one percent of the total amount bet on its games," he said, per Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today.

"We will spend this year roughly $7.5 billion creating this content, creating these games," NBA commissioner Adam Silver told reporters at February's All-Star Game. "What will come with legalized sports betting are enormous additional expenses for the league that go directly to integrity."


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