The players’ unions of the “Big 4” North American sports leagues have released a joint statement regarding sports betting.
The United States Supreme Court is expected to make a ruling on the legality of sports gambling some time soon, and the unions appear to be positioning themselves for a voice should sports betting be legalized in the U.S.
This stems from a law passed in 1992 called the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, which outlawed sports betting nationwide in the U.S., save for a few states.
New Jersey has made several attempts to challenge the law, its first in 2009, arguing that it unconstitutionally discriminated against the 46 states for which sports gambling is outlawed. The Garden State’s case was heard by the Supreme Court this past December.
“Given the pending Supreme Court decision regarding the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PAPSA), representatives of the MLBPA, NBPA, NFLPA and NHLPA have been working together on the legal, commercial, practical, and human consequences of allowing sports betting to become mainstream,” reads the unions’ statement. “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.”