The major professional league associations in the US have finally broken the silence as the country awaits the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that is likely to legalize nationwide sports betting. The unions, which include the National Football League Players Association (NFLPA), National Basketball Players Association (NBPA), National Hockey League Players’ Association (NHLPA), and the Major League of Baseball Players’ Association (MLBPA) have joined together to insist on being included in discussions pertaining to the legalization of sports betting. This announcement was released via a joint statement that was meant to make public the position of the union with regards to the matter at hand.
The joint effort by the unions is specifically geared towards ensuring that any new laws put players’ rights and integrity into consideration regardless of their respective sports affiliations. As outlined in the statement, the players’ associations concerns revolve around the profits that sports betting would bring as well as the potential costs of such arrangements.
The joint statement further revealed that the unions had discussed the potential impacts of legalized sports betting on players’ privacy and the security. Another key focus for the discussion was the integrity of the games. Still, the main takeaway from the recent development is the fact that the associations share the belief that lobbyist groups are not the only stakeholders and thus should not be the only participants in the process of legalizing sports betting.
The associations are calling for the inclusion of athletes in the discussions so as to ensure that the rights of the players are upheld and the integrity of the games remain intact when sports betting finally becomes a reality.
“Given the pending Supreme Court decision regarding PASPA representatives of the MLBPA, NBPA, NFLPA and NHLPA have been working together on the legal, commercial, practical, and human consequences of allowing sports betting to become mainstream,” the joint statement read. “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.”
There have been raging debates for some time now with regards to ensuring the integrity of games intact. So far, the MLB and the NBA have been the most vocal – both have proposed that a 1 percent integrity free from the overall betting revenue should be paid to the leagues. Fortunately, while this legislation has been met with equal amounts of support and opposition, the leagues might just get what they want after all. Case in point, the New York Senate recently passed a legislation that requires a 0.25 percent fee to be paid out to the player leagues.