Published: January 27, 2018

NBA requests set of laws that would help legalize sports gambling in United States

The NBA is acknowledging an elephant that has been in the room for a very long time, and one that many sports leagues try to ignore: Gambling and sports go together. There is currently a case in New Jersey related to the legality of sports gambling, which could change how it's handled nationwide. via ESPN

The U.S. Supreme Court is considering a New Jersey-based case that could clear the way for individual states to legalize sports betting at casinos and racetracks. Oral arguments took place last month, and a decision is expected in the spring. As that process plays out, a number of states are putting legislation in place to act if the Supreme Court's ruling overturns the federal ban on widespread sports betting outside Nevada.  

The NBA fought against this in the past, but after researching it further, the league appears ready to flip its stance. According to ESPN, the NBA is going to request a set of laws that would help legalize sports gambling in the future, but also allow the NBA to make their own profit. Considering the billions of dollars that go into Vegas every year this could lead to a massive increase in money for the NBA.

In what could end up being a seminal moment for sports gambling in America, the NBA on Wednesday formally requested a set of laws that could be the basis for professional sports leagues pushing for national legalized wagering on games.

Dan Spillane, an attorney for the NBA, testified in front of a New York State Senate committee and for the first time made it clear what the league's price would be to become a partner in legalizing the multibillion-dollar industry.

The NBA wants 1 percent of every bet made on its games in addition to other regulations, a request that could create massive revenue for the NBA and other sports leagues in the future.

The concerns about sports gambling being legal is obvious, not just in terms of easy access for the common person, but how it could impact the game itself. What's to stop athletes from trying to swing their own bets in their favor? The NBA says that its studies have helped it find ways that would allow gambling to not only be safe for fans, but would protect the game of basketball itself.

"We have studied these issues at length," Spillane said in his statement to lawmakers. "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." 

Spillane wants to limit action on certain types of bets that could be more easily manipulated. He used the example of prop bets Wednesday, such as placing a wager on who may draw the game's first foul.

The league also wants to protect consumers, including age restrictions and a "rigorous licensing program" for operators. 

If sports gambling were legalized, and the NBA was able to make the 1 percent revenue that comes in from that, it could lead to massive changes in how the game is covered. The revenue increase alone would likely lead to another cap and salary jump for teams and players. It will be interesting to see how this all plays out.

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