Are Sports Leagues Justified In Their Fear Of The Legalized Sports Betting?
The sports leagues have for long made a strong stand against the legalization of sports betting. They argued that it would erode the integrity of the game with players or referees throwing away games to win a bet.
In fact, it’s for this reason that they took New Jersey to court twice over its attempts to legalize the betting on its territory. In 2012, the leagues filed a suit to stop this country from allowing betting on professional and college leagues and actually won.
But the second suit in 2014 for decriminalizing sports betting at licensed casinos and racetracks was unsuccessful.
In May 2018, the US Supreme Court ruled against the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) of 1992 which forbade sports betting throughout the country, thus allowing states to decide on whether to legalize it or not.
Much as the leagues have been forced to welcome this ruling because it opens up doors to a new stream of money, they’ve still not diverged from trying to protect the game from match-fixers.
The leagues have now embarked on getting all the sports betting operators to pay an integrity fee of 1% to help them strengthen the monitoring of the game and thus ensure that it remains scandal-free.
The American Gaming Association is currently resisting this fee on the grounds that it’s too high. However, with the sports leagues having a strong argument that they’re entitled to this money since all the sports data used in betting is their intellectual property, this might be a difficult case for the sports operators to win.
Is This Fear Justified?
Well, with legal sports betting expected to contribute $22.4B to US GDP according to the infographic by NJ Games, this is an industry with huge sums of money that most people would want to get a piece of – including the players. If any of them decides to throw away games to win their bets or accept money from corrupters, the consequences could be quite damaging.
Fans want to watch uncorrupted games that offer some degree of suspense and conclusive results. If this right is taken away from them by match-fixers, they will turn away from the games and the leagues will lose lots of money from ticket sales, advertising, etc.
Some of the leagues have already faced such scandals before along with their repercussions and don’t want history to repeat itself.
For example, the NBA’s reputation was tarnished in 2007 when it was discovered that one of its referees – Tim Donaghy – was involved in sports gambling. Whereas, the MLB has never forgotten the famous scandals involving Pete Rose and the 1919 Black Sox.
Sports experts have, however, argued against this by stating that it would be hard for professional players to throw away games since they earn high salaries on top of endorsements.
But they’re wary of the college sports as they believe corrupters will find it easy to influence the athletes since their pay is below the market rate. That’s why they’re advising the sports officials to rectify this as soon as possible.