Major League Baseball, the NBA, and the PGA want states that adopt gambling to cough up one percent of the action in exchange for, well, nothing. But the sports leagues are willing to take a lot less in exchange for, well, nothing.
Via Patrick Anderson of the Providence Journal, the trio of leagues has slashed their request from 1.0 percent to 0.25 percent in Rhode Island.
PGA Tour vice president David Miller told the Rhode Island Senate Finance Committee on Tuesday that the “[l]eagues create the source of activity” on which the betting will be used, and that the leagues “bear the burden of integrity risk” of gambling-driven irregularities like match fixing and point shaving.
“These are our games,” NBA senior V.P. Dan Spillane argued at the same hearing. “The games and the fans who are interested in them. That’s what you are getting for it.”
That argument has never flown in Nevada, and the sports leagues never have tried to take a stand against illegal gambling on this plank of sanctimony. Instead, they’ve historically enjoyed the increased interest in their sports via legal betting in Nevada and illegal betting elsewhere. Now that the other 49 states can get in on the act, the sports leagues are putting a hand out because: (1) they can; and (2) the cost for doing so pales in comparison to the money they could make, if they can convince one or more states to swallow a hook that holds no actual bait.
The NFL has yet to make a move for any type of integrity fee, but the league’s constant references to the “integrity of the game” (even with one of the teams already slated to move to Las Vegas) seems to be the precursor to making a play not in statehouses but in Congress to get a fee aimed at giving them the money, ostensibly, to ensure that the games will have something they already should.