Sports unions want a “seat at the table” on gambling

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With legalized wagering on sporting events possibly coming soon, the unions representing the players who play the game have spoken out, in one voice.

The players associations representing Major League Baseball, the NBA, the NFL, and the NHL have issued the following statement: “Given the pending Supreme Court decision regarding the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PAPSA), 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 time has come to address not just who profits from sports gambling, but also the costs. Our unions have been discussing the potential impact of legalized gambling on players’ privacy and publicity rights, the integrity of our games and the volatility of our businesses. 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.”

It sounds good, but ultimately what does it mean? While the unions are free to lobby the various states considering gambling legislation in the same way that the NBA and Major League Baseball have done, ultimately neither the leagues nor the unions will have any power or leverage to force the rules to tilt in their favor. Short of shutting down the various sports, there’s nothing they can do to get “a seat at the table” or a piece of the pie or anything else once gambling is legal.

Gambling has happened legally for decades in Nevada, and illegally for decades longer in every other American jurisdiction. If the integrity of any games was going to be impacted, it already has been. (And, indeed, there have been examples of it over the years.)

The reality is (or at least seems to be) that the leagues and the unions realize that legalized betting will result in billions of dollars changing hands in a manner that allows leagues and/or unions to stick out a hand and hope it fills up. I can’t fault them for trying, but I also can’t imagine any state legislature saying anything to those who provide the basis for the betting other than, “Your sports will benefit from the increased interest driven by legal gambling. It will remain your obligation to ensure that your games have integrity.”

24 responses to “Sports unions want a “seat at the table” on gambling

  1. I’ll set the odds at -200 for gambling legislation getting done in the next two years. Too much for the stakeholders to disagree over, so they’ll just waste more time in approving the inevitable.

    And for those who clutch their pearls at the thought of legalized gambling, please feel free to take your complaints to the NYSE and NASDAQ before posting here.

  2. If they let players in on this in ANY Way it will be the Beginning Of The End Of Professional Sports.

  3. Unions, stay away. This is a surefire way to ensure the games are fixed. I’ve been at the South Point sportsbook this week and you don’t need players getting a cut of this.

  4. @ everyone in the comments, I’m guessing the unions will ask for a flat % of the wagers. How exactly would that lead to rigging games?

    Say there’s a $1BN in gambling revenue on a sport. That sport’s players union would get like, 0.25%, and would evenly divvy that up among players or use it for a pension fund or whatever they want. Would be impossible to rig with that setup.

  5. Assuming a standard line of -110 and equal winners/losers on both sides of a bet, there is only about 4.1% of all money wagered from which these leagues/unions can expect a cut BUT Sportsbooks have operational costs that they have to pay from that 4.1% and still remain profitable.

    Any claim to receive anything more than a small fraction of a percent is delusional.

  6. Most of the Unions/ player agreements get a percentage of the profits. Any additional profits through increased revenue from legal gambling will be a part of their cut. Pro athletes make enough so that they would have to receive large payoffs to shave points or throw games.
    The much easier targets will be college players where point spreads are larger and getting say $ 5000 to win by 10 points instead of 20 is more likely.

  7. You mean Sports Unions want to get paid…and for what? They have no dog in this fight other than their own greed.

  8. Does anyone else feel like fans are just something everyone owner and player in the NFL mines for their money. At times watching them fight over our money is (insert you own word here) !

  9. I don’t want any Union getting even 0.25% of my money. Unions have become a complete waiste of money

  10. jjackwagon says:
    April 12, 2018 at 11:40 am

    You mean Sports Unions want to get paid…and for what? They have no dog in this fight other than their own greed.
    ———————-

    What’s wrong with that? Doesn’t the CBA give them a percentage of the revenue? If the owners are making money off of it, that’s revenue.

  11. Because corporations always check with the employees before signing deals that have nothing to do with them.

  12. If Vegas is allowed to wager pro sports, well then sports wagering isn’t going to become legal in the U.S. it already is legal in the U.S. It will take away U.S. Jurisdiction website betting which has many more costs to the wagerer outside of the standard 10 percent “juice” and also is a much longer return on your wager time than if you bet in Nevada right now as it stands.

  13. irishgary says:
    April 12, 2018 at 11:55 am
    I don’t want any Union getting even 0.25% of my money. Unions have become a complete waiste of money

    “Waiste” of money. I see your point. The Teachers Union certainly was a waste in your case…

  14. “If they let players in on this in ANY Way it will be the Beginning Of The End Of Professional Sports.”

    Please elaborate.

  15. jjackwagon says:
    April 12, 2018 at 11:40 am

    You mean Sports Unions want to get paid…and for what? They have no dog in this fight other than their own greed.
    ———————-

    The owners don’t have a dog in the fight either. Their only motivation is greed, as well.

  16. So do I. Maybe they should put want in one hand and $#it in the other…..As the saying goes.

  17. That’s right the unions want a peice. Ooops I meant to say Associations we were told Union is not a good word lol. Did you really think this was gonna go down and leave the associations out of it??? We just want to wet our beak.

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