For the first time, Players Associations for the four major sports leagues in the US have come together to have their say on the impending legalization of sports betting in the country. Players unions for the MLB, NBA, NFL and NHL said in a joint statement released last week that they want a greater say on the potential expansion of sports betting in the US.
In their joint statement, the players unions said that, given the pending Supreme Court decision regarding the almost nationwide ban on sports betting under the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA), “the time has come to address not just who profits from sports gambling, but also the costs.”
The statement said that the unions had been discussing the potential impact of legalized gambling on players’ privacy and publicity rights, as well as the integrity of games and the volatility of businesses.
“Betting on sports may become widely legal, but we cannot allow those who have lobbied the hardest for sports gambling to ne the only ones controlling how it could be ushered into our businesses,” read the statement. “The athletes must also have a seat at the table to ensure that players’ rights and the integrity of our games are protected.”
It certainly makes sense to have all parties involved seated around the table, especially since without the players, the sports leagues would not even exist.
CNBC quoted an executive of a company that works with officials and players of several leagues to deter scandals as saying that all relevant stakeholders, including player unions, need to have a seat at the table as the country approaches a potential landmark change in its sports betting landscape.
“Maintaining the integrity of sport must be the key cornerstone of the discussions,” Dr. Laila Mintas is quoted as saying.
The NBA responded to the joint statement, saying that it welcomed the involvement of its players in the process and believed that there was an alignment of interests of everyone involved in professional sports to protect the integrity of competitions.