AGA and NHL Clarify Stances on Legalized US Sports Betting
The NHL has finally broken its ambiguity in regards to recently legalized sports betting in the US outside Nevada. Commissioner Gary Bettman was able to relay his thoughts on the decision by the Supreme Court of the United States to strike down PASPA, the 1992 federal ban on sports betting, earlier this month.
NHL Seeks Uniformity in Regulation
Bettman made his comments during a scheduled media conference for Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals, ironically taking place in Las Vegas this season. In more ways than one, Bettman appears to be taking a stance similar to MLB and the NBA with some distinctions.
“We’re looking for consistency. Whether that can be done federally — which would make it easier to make sure (of) the rules of the game, the types of bets that are being placed, how things are being conducted — we’d like consistency and we’d like not to have it vary state-by-state. Now if all the states want to come together and do the same thing, that would be the equivalent of federal legislation and that’s something that we’re focused on.”
When asked about the much maligned attempts of sports leagues to demand “integrity fees”, Bettman essentially said that while he isn’t concerned his players will engage in detrimental activity, he still wants his cut of the market.
“I’m not sure I buy the term ‘integrity fee’ — I don’t worry about the integrity of our players,” Bettman said. “I think, though, if you’re going to allocate for yourself to run a business on our intellectual property and the performance of our athletes and the platform that we put on for our games, we’re entitled to be involved in that.”
Bettman Decrys “Integrity Fees”, Still Wants Cut
While employing a no-doubt bold, yet honest tactic by eschewing the other leagues propagation of their money requests as some kind of means to protect its games from being played unfairly, one can wonder how New Jersey and sportsbooks would react to Bettman’s sentiments.
The issue of sports leagues being granted full control of their supposed “intellectual property” and entitlement to exclusive data rights has been a hot one. There’s no proof to this thought, but the NHL’s recent development of new technology to record data including “smart pucks” and even recent expansion into Las Vegas may not be as coincidental as it appears.
League Unsure On Sportsbook Sponsorships
There’s additionally been some interesting speculation as to whether gambling operators in the US will be able to sponsor teams. This is incredibly common in club football in the United Kingdom and all over the world.
NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly stated that while this is a key area of interest to the league, it’s still being reviewed and there are still details to be worked out.
“(Operators sponsoring teams) is one of the things we’re looking at. Obviously the landscape has changed dramatically in the last ten days with sports gaming and what the rules should be. It’s one of the things we’ll take a look at. Obviously nothing is going to happen to the balance of this season but we’ll address what the rules are vis a vis our clubs over the summer.”
AGA Adresses Congress in Open Letter
Meanwhile the American Gaming Association issued an open letter to the US Congress that clarified the organizations feelings on the issue. As one of the foremost gambling authorities and significant betting entities in the country, their opinion means a considerable amount going forward.
The AGA believes less in the idea of a uniform federal-level form of legislation, and more that the issue of legalization should be a state-to-state issue. While it make sense a singular entity like a pro sports league would want uniformity, the AGA is made up of several members.
These include bookmaking giants like Paddy Power Betfair which just purchased American daily fantasy site FanDuel. With several important entities all wanting different things in some cases, it should come as no shock that in the letter, the AGA collectively is seeking a state-level solution and process.
“In the wake of the Court’s ruling, some have called for Congress to enact a federal framework to regulate sports betting. The AGA believes this is unwise, unnecessary and out of step with public sentiment indicating 7 in 10 Americans think this decision should be left to each state, not the federal government.”
The AGA also asked Congress to re-evaluate a sports betting tax enacted in 1951, which will have to be paid along with any such royalty fees to the sports leagues should they get their way. The AGA’s goal is to the get the fee, which is levied on every sports bet made, down to a .25-percent figure to ease the load and help the new market thrive.
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