The players associations representing the four major sports leagues – baseball, football, basketball and hockey – in anticipation of the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling on the New Jersey sports betting case, released a joint statement Thursday explaining their position on sports betting.
The statement says, “The time has come to address not just who profits from sports gambling, but also the costs. Our unions have been discussing the potential impact of legalized gambling on players’ privacy and publicity rights, the integrity of our games and the volatility on our businesses. Betting on sports may become widely legal, but we cannot allow those who have lobbied the hardest for sports gambling to be the only ones controlling how it would be ushered into our businesses. The athletes must also have a seat at the table to ensure that players’ rights and the integrity of our games are protected.”
The statement, according to some observers, is deliberately vague but appears to endorse a controversial “integrity fee” which has been floated by sports league lobbyists before various state lawmakers preparing to establish their own regulations should the federal law that bans national, Nevada-style sports betting be declared unconstitutional.
The next possible date for the Supreme Court to release a ruling on the New Jersey case is April 30. A decision had been initially anticipated by June and could be as late as September, say veteran Supreme Court watchers.