Rhode Island lawmakers now subject to lobbying efforts by NBA, MLB

Rhode Island lawmakers now subject to lobbying efforts by NBA, MLB

February 16, 2018 9:39 AM
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Rhode Island lawmakers, now considering legalizing sports gambling, will now be subject to official lobbying efforts by the National Basketball Association (NBA) and Major League Baseball (MLB).

According to lobbyist disclosures filed with the Rhode Island secretary of state’s office both the NBA and MLB have hired the Senate Finance Committee’s former chairman to lobby on their behalf.

Stephen Alves will earn $2,500 a month from each league. League officials confirmed this week to local media that they are monitoring the state’s proposed sports betting legislation.

“We’ve dedicated years to carefully studying the issue of legalized sports betting and we agree the time has come to give sports fans a safe and legal way to bet on sports while protecting the integrity of our games,” Mike Bass, the NBA’s executive vice president of communications, said in a prepared statement. “We look forward to working with the governor and the legislature on a framework that includes appropriate safeguards.”

MLB did not comment.

Gov. Gina Raimondo’s proposed budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1 contains $23.5 million in projected revenue from sports betting at state casinos.

The U.S. Supreme Court is expected, in the next few months, to make public it’s ruling on New Jersey’s challenge to the federal law banning single-team wagering in every state but Nevada.

Neither the NBA nor MLB currently has a team based in Rhode Island or New Jersey.