Major Sports Leagues Secretly Talk ‘Inevitable’ Likelihood of Legal Sports Betting

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Representatives from the players associations of the four major professional sports league have been meeting in NYC to discuss what’s becoming almost an inevitability: the legalization of sports gambling.

“Yes, the sports unions have been discussing the issue, in particular around the integrity of our respective games,” NFLPA executive George Atallah said Thursday afternoon in an interview with MMQB. “We’re collaborating on it. We might be open to changes that are coming because of (legalized sports gambling), but before we get to the revenue aspect of it, do we have the infrastructure in place to prevent any sort of shenanigans? That’s the issue.”

MMQB has learned of the closed door meetings over the past year-and-a-half, a period for which time the National Basketball League has come on record as supporting the notion of legalized sports wagering, the National Football League, not so much, as highlighted by the league’s recent position tied to the Raiders move to Las Vegas.

“From a gambling standpoint? That’s a joke to even say that’d be a problem,” one AFC owner told The MMQB in late March. “That was an issue decades ago. Now? Sports gambling is going to be legal. We might as well embrace it and become part of the solution, rather than fight it. It’s in everyone’s best interests for it to be above board.”

Introduced last month, The Gaming Accountability and Modernization Enhancement Act (GAME), sponsored by New Jersey Democrat Rep. Frank Pallone, looks to make online sports betting legal across the US.

“Despite the federal gaming laws in place today, Americans are betting up to $400 billion a year on sporting events alone,” said Pallone (D-N.J.). “It’s time to recognize that the laws are outdated, and the GAME Act will modernize them by increasing transparency, integrity, and consumer protections.”

Sports and gambling law attorney Daniel Wallach told USA Today, this bill is just the beginning.

“This is not going to be the final bill that will be passed by the U.S. Congress and signed into law by President Trump, but you need to start somewhere,” Wallach said. “Until (Thursday), there was no meaningful legislation that has been introduced that would (clear the way) for sports betting. It is designed to kick-start the conversation with an endgame of 2018 or 2019.”

Trump himself has supported the idea of legalizing sports betting.

- Gilbert Horowitz, Gambling911.com

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