NBA Changes Stance on Sports Betting in USA

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The National Basketball Association (NBA) spent years advocating its clear stance against sports betting in the United States of America but now looks set to become the first major American professional sports league to open its arms towards the introduction of legal betting system across the country.

Sports betting is currently legal in four states with Nevada standing as the most prominent example but the NBA officials claim the time has come for a comprehensive model to be introduced that would be used as a 50-state solution.

Associate counsel for the NBA Dan Spillane voiced the league’s support in remarks to a New York Senate committee on gambling earlier this year which is the first time the official position of the league is open for a change.

NBA flattered with the sport betting legalisation idea before but David Stern’s cries back in 2007 and his successor NBA commissioner Adam Silver’s remarks three years ago fell on deaf ears. The individual opinion of two NBA’s commissioners were not shared by the league’s top offices but it appears that time has finally come for the stance to be revised amid Supreme Court’s review of the case made against the major US sports leagues by New Jersey Governor Chris Christie when NCAA, MLB, NBA, among others, sued the state after it attempted to legalise sports betting in 2012.

NBA was among the state’s top leagues that thrown multiple lawsuits against New Jersey arguing the illegality on the base of a 1992 law which banned sports betting in all states except for the aforementioned four – Nevada, Oregon, Delaware and Montana – on the back of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA).

Chris Christie is now arguing that the 1992 law is unconstitutional and is claiming that if four states may legally be allowed to offer sports betting, the same should be granted nation-wide.

Contrary to its initial stance on the matter, the NBA is now looking towards the sports betting issue in a different light.

“In the event that PASPA is overturned, the NBA cannot sit on the sidelines”, Spillane said earlier this year.

The latest comments issued from the NBA saw the Commissioner Adam Silver reinforce his stance, adding that NBA should receive a 1% ‘integrity fee’ if the Supreme Court gives all 50 states the option to legalise sports betting.

Silver is aiming to protect intellectual property creators who will spend roughly $7.5 billion creating the NBA content during the year. The league’s proposed fee was inspired by jurisdictions outside the United States, according to Silver, who claims similar fees exist as a viable model of compensation for the use of intellectual properties.

“We created in our mind what a model bill should look like. In that model bill is a one percent fee. Call it integrity fee, call it a royalty to the league.”, he said.

Silver’s proposal would see sportsbook operators paying a tax on all wagers in any state, which has generally been accepted as another obstacle on road to legalisation and regulation of sports betting in the USA. 

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