The US Commissioner for Major League Soccer (MLS), Don Garber has come out in support of legal sports betting in the United States. Garber said at a Yahoo Finance event recently that the regulation of sports betting in the US was only a matter of time and that he believed that the MLS could essentially pave the way for changes. He also cited the financial benefits of having a legal and regulated sports betting industry in the country.
“Gambling on games, betting on games, is part of the DNA of football around the world…I am a big proponent that it’s going to happen, we might as well be in front of it,” he said at the Yahoo event. “I think there are great values to our tax revenues to be able to do that, I don’t think we can stop it, so maybe we’d even lead the charge.”
The Commissioner’s comments come ahead of New Jersey’s bid to have the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection (PASPA) Act of 1992 overturned, which – for the most part – outlawed sports betting in the United States. New Jersey is arguing that individual states have the right to determine their own gambling landscapes, and that it is unconstitutional to stop them from doing so. Many states have showed their support for New Jersey’s appeal.
“One of the only values of being the youngest major league here, and sometimes being under the radar… is I think it gives us the opportunity to push the envelope on a number of different things,” said Garber. “I do believe that we could lead this effort, because I don’t know that everybody will see soccer as having the same challenges that perhaps would exist if the NFL was going to come out in support of it.”
Garber is the third major league sports commissioner to come out openly about his support of sports betting. NBA’s Adam Silver and MLB’s Rob Manfred have both said in the past that sports betting in the US was already a permanent fixture and their sports supported the regulating of the industry.
Garber said that the MLS was “very open to understanding how we can get more engaged in this market in a way that I think if done properly, can be regulated and managed and controlled.”
“I’ll join the chorus of saying it’s time to bring it out of the dark ages,” he said. “We’re doing what we can to figure out how to manage that effectively.”