NBA, MLB criticize West Virginia’s sports betting bill

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Routinely criticized for being behind the times, West Virginia is getting ahead of the curve when it comes to sports betting.

In anticipation of the scuttling of the federal prohibition on expanded sports wagering, a West Virginia Senate committee has advanced a bill that, if it becomes law, would legalize sports wagering at the state’s various casinos, and via mobile apps that would be used by people located in West Virginia. Both the NBA and Major League Baseball have criticized aspects of the bill.

“We appreciate the Legislature’s work on the subject of legalized sports betting; however, we do not believe the bill currently under consideration will achieve the critical goals of protecting consumers and the integrity of our league,” the NBA said in a statement. “We hope that the Legislature will examine these issues more closely and amend the bill to include the necessary safeguards.”

“Any sports betting legislation must include clear, robust and enforceable protections to mitigate any possible risks to our game,” Major League Baseball added. “The law quickly advancing in West Virginia, unfortunately, falls short of meeting those critical standards. We are hopeful the Legislature will complete a significant overhaul of the law and bolster the protections. We would be happy to work with legislators and the Lottery Commission to improve the current language.”

A significant point of contention has become the one-percent payment the sports leagues want. Instead of calling it what it is — a piece of the action — the sports leagues are characterizing it as an “integrity fee,” aimed at compensating them for the increased expenses associated with insulating their product against the scandals and other complications that can arise when gambling becomes legalized.

They have a point, but it’s still P.R. spin for wanting a cut. And they should get a cut. But they also should just admit that they want a cut, instead of cooking up a forced justification for putting out a hand and saying, “Gimme gimme.”

The NFL has yet to officially enter the fray directly. Surely, the NFL is monitoring. Surely, the NFL will be ready to join in the “gimme, gimme” chorus at the right time.

13 responses to “NBA, MLB criticize West Virginia’s sports betting bill

  1. “They have a point, but it’s still P.R. spin for wanting a cut. And they should get a cut.“

    Exactly why should they get a cut? What more are they doing to earn their cut? They are doing no more for their cut than the mob is when they ask businesses for protection money.

  2. There are no “scandals and complications”, that come with legalized sports betting. At least no additional ones that aren’t already present through organize crime controlled illegal gambling. If I were a judge and a sports league was asking for a 1% fee to “Protect their sport” I would ask them what they have been doing up till now to protect it

  3. After all the tax breaks and stadiums local cities built for sports teams I don’t think the league’s deserve a dime of the cut. How about this…if they want a cut then every team that wants new publicly funded facilities will have to open their books to the public for inspection.

  4. I cannot think of any justifiable reason why any of the sports leagues should receive any portion of money bet on their sport unless, of course, they were to established their own sports book. BTW, why have these same leagues not been seeking a piece of the action from Vegas for past decades of their absurd monopoly? This is rank and hypocritical opportunism.

  5. Anytime money is involved…point spreads can be influenced…

    Remember the offensive pass interference called on Eric Decker? I’ve watched that replay over and over and here are my conclusions:

    – Eric Decker was within 5yds of the LOS and the ball had not been released before the contact occurred…

    – Flags are supposed to be thrown at the spot of the foul when they occur…In this case the flag was thrown after Decker had ran for a first down, near the sideline.

    – And mebbe the most damning piece of evidence that the Refs didn’t want the game to be close (Pats need to cover -14.5) was that the flag was thrown by a ref who wasn’t even visible in the screen several yards down field…Seriously watch the replay! So that means a referee positioned on the sideline more than 20yds away from the LOS (the foul occurred in the middle of the field) was in position to call offensive pass interference???

    Now again, the refs can’t decide the outcome of the game, but they can certainly affect momentum, penalties, and field position…which in turn can push the score of a game or more importantly the point spread of a game in any direction…the direction that those with money want it to be!

  6. The profit margin for the casinos are too thin to pay 1% to the various leagues. I don’t see any way the sports leagues can force the casinos to pay them ANYTHING, nor do they deserve one cent from the casinos!

  7. Still curious how they arrived at the “one percent” figure. If they mean one percent of the money bet (the gross, the handle), don’t they realize the book makers are expected to get (to hold) about 4 and a fraction? You are asking for almost 25 percent of the net, that’s absurd.

  8. AOL firsts ads were all about keeping up with the latest scores. Calling that telephone number was annoying. AOL then took on a life of it’s own (and undoing) but it was all the people who gambled who signed up first. Everyone I knew that gambled went out and bought a PC.

    People also forget that in the 80’s and 90’s football NFL was not nearly as big as it is today. Gambling kept it afloat. Much like fantasy football as added millions to the fanbase.

    If everyone stopped gambling and playing fantasy football (and Madden, for that matter), football would not be even remotely generating the interest and thus money that it does.

    And they know it.

  9. How about these billionaire owners can either have a 1% cut or they can stop taking money from the public to finance their stadiums. I guarantee they’ll keep taking the stadium money. It’s a disgrace public money is being used to fund their vanity projects when some people can’t even afford basic healthcare.

  10. I don’t see how any pro sport league can say anything about sports betting in a state with zero pro sports teams. It’s just a money grab and frankly it’s kind of despicable.

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