“Our conclusion is that the time has come for a different approach that gives sports fans a safe and legal way to wager on sporting events while protecting the integrity of the underlying competitions.”
State lawmakers have explored the issue in recent months as they wait for the Supreme Court’s decision on whether to allow legal sports gambling in New Jersey.
If the nation’s top court rules in the state’s favor, many officials believe they will also overturn the 1992 federal gambling ban.
“There are different ways to implement legal sports betting,” Spillane said. “One approach, which we would prefer, is for Congress to adopt a federal framework that would allow New York and other states to authorize betting on sports, subject to strict regulatory requirements and technological safeguards.”
The NBA’s show of support on Wednesday is a break from the professional sports leagues’ decades-long stance against gambling.
“Creating a legal framework for sports betting is not a novel proposition,” Spillane told lawmakers.
While the NBA is pushing for a national betting regulatory system, allowing for legal gambling across the US, it has been forced to take the fight to the state level as federal officials continue to drag their feet on the issue.
“We support the passage of a comprehensive sports betting bill that would serve as a model for a 50-state solution — whether that happens in Congress or on a state-by-state basis,” Spillane said.
Specifically, Spillane outlined five key components to making national legalized wagering work, one of which included a 1 percent fee for every NBA bet made.
“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,” Spillane said.
“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 percent of the total amount bet on its games,” he explained. “This approach draws from how sports betting is legally regulated in some other international jurisdictions, like Australia and France.”
Another proposal is to have bets be made using smartphones and arena kiosks — instead of just casinos and racetracks.
“If betting were limited to the four land-based casinos that are located miles from New York City or other major population centers in the State, many consumers likely would continue to bet illegally through offshore websites and other illegal channels,” Spillane said.