Major Sports Leagues Threaten Lawsuits Against Sportsbetting

As Canada continues its debate over the single game sportsbetting bill, the major sports leagues vocal opposition to single game bets is getting even louder.  Several Canadian Senators have mentioned their plans to kill the bill in reaction to heavy opposition from the MLB, NHL, NBA, NFL, and NCAA.  The leagues have said the status quo for gambling on games works, and have been vehemently against Canada’s plans to update sportsbetting law.  Their opposition is also being felt south of the border, as New Jersey has learned the hard way.

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has drafted legislation that would legalize sportsbetting throughout the state.  The goal of this strategy is to remain relevant in the gambling industry in the wake of declining revenue and profitability at its Atlantic City casinos.  However, the major league commissioners have launched a lawsuit against Christie and his plans for sportsbetting by making several of the same arguments they made in Canada – that the integrity of the leagues would be compromised with expanded sportsbetting law.  Those claims were widely dismissed by several Canadian critics, but nevertheless the leagues are sticking to their guns.

Lawyers representing the state of New Jersey asked the league commissioners to clarify their reasons for opposition to the proposed sportsbetting law.  NBA commissioner David Stern says “New Jersey has no idea what it is doing” if it legalizes sportsbetting, while NFL commissioner Roger Goodell was more diplomatic.  Lawyers asked Goodell about the NFL playing games in the UK where all sportsbetting is legal or Canada where multi-game bets are legal which he clarified is something that must be accepted for the expansion of the league.

Well, we’re playing in their country, we’re coming to them.  And we’re only there for a short period of time; we’re there for two or three days.  It’s not what we choose, it’s not what we believe is in the best interests of sports, but we don’t dictate the rules or the laws.

The Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act is at the heart of the case, which was initially implemented to prevent states from legalizing sportsbetting except for Nevada, Delaware, Oregon, and Montana which Christie says were “grandfathered” for exemption.  Christie says those exemptions prevent New Jersey from competing in that section of the gambling market, which he proposes should be amended.

The leagues have countered that federal law imposes the ban outside of designated states.  What do you think about sportsbetting laws in Canada, New Jersey or elsewhere?  Let us know on Facebook – opinions are very important as the sportsbetting could be expanded under new proposed laws.

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