NBA seeking 1 percent share of all money bet on its games

NBA seeking 1 percent share of all money bet on its games

January 25, 2018 9:52 AM


The National Basketball Association, long believed the major U.S. sports league with the least resistance to national sports wagering, is seeking a 1 percent share of all money bet on its games should sports betting be legalized in this country.

Dan Spillane, an attorney for the NBA, testified in front of a New York State Senate committee Wednesday and for the first time clarified how much it wanted to, in effect, become a partner in a possible multibillion-dollar industry.

The NBA’s 1 percent price for every bet made on its games in addition to other regulations could create colossal revenue for the NBA but would have a negative impact on bookmakers by siphoning off about one fifth of the average 5 percent bookmaker hold on overall sports wagering.

Spillane also said the NBA favors bets to be made legal on smartphones and kiosks and not just inside casinos and racetracks. That would increase the amount of wagering and, in turn, create more revenue for the league.

"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."

Industry observers say the 1 percent cost would cripple the industry before it even starts by continuing to make offshore bookmaking operations an attractive alternative for players. They note that in most other countries sports wagering is monetized through sponsorship deals with bookmakers including jersey advertisements, increased television ratings and contracts allowing a bookmaker exclusive betting kiosks in the home stadiums.

The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to rule in June on New Jerseys’ challenge to the federal law banning single-team sport wagering in every state except Nevada.