Two NJ Legislators Put Forward a Proposal to Collect Betting Fees that will Benefit Sports Leagues 

Atlantic County Democratic state legislators, Senator Jim Whelan and Assemblyman Vincent Mazzeo have disclosed plans of advancing a proposal to collect a small fee on wagers that New Jersey betting enthusiasts will place, once sports betting offers become available in the Garden State.

However, the revelation came around not as a public announcement but as the main content of the two NJ lawmakers’ written communication to NBA Commissioner Adam Silver.

Apparently inspired by Commissioner Silver’s speech at the Bloomberg Sports Business Summit held in New York last Sept. 04, 2014, the two NJ lawmakers wrote a letter to the NBA Chief to convey not only their appreciation for the context of Silver’s speech, but also to offer their sportsbetting proposal as well.

As it was, Commissioner Silver commented that the pursuit of legalized sports betting by cash-strapped states is something that he understands, and that it presents circumstances from which the National Basketball Association (NBA) can benefit. Through a Bloomberg interview, he described the advent of sportsbetting as inevitable…”if all these states are broke, that there will be legalized sports betting in more states than Nevada,” —-“We will ultimately participate in that.”

Senator Whelan and Representative Mazzeo thanked the Commissioner for recognizing that sports wagering as an industry in jurisdictions other than Nevada, is inevitable. The two Democrats in turn remarked that aside from the potential economic benefits that sports wagering could bring to the state of New Jersey, they are also mindful that sports leagues like the NBA would be in need of additional funds to use for protecting the integrity and evenhandedness of their games.

On that note, Sen. Whelan and Rep. Mazzeo stated that they are proposing a $0.25 fee on monies placed as sports wagers, which will be allocated as contributions to sports organizations. Such contributions will serve as funds that sports leagues can use in enforcing measures that ensure the uprightness of the games, as well as for preventing match fixing in any games. The two NJ lawmakers suggested measures like hiring an independent investigator and implementing monitoring methods. 

The pair also wrote that their proposal has the potential of becoming a national model for sports wagering. In envisioning the legalization of this type of betting industry on a nationwide level, they also project that the fees would generate millions of dollars for the different sports clubs. Banking on the open-mindedness of Commissioner Silver, the Democratic lawmakers expressed hopes that the NBA and other sports leagues would be able to forge a similar fee-collection and allocation agreement with operators of casinos and racetracks.

The letter ended with an invitation for the NBA Chief or any authorized NBA representative to discuss with them the proposal offered by Senator Whelan and Rep. Mazzeo.

In a phone interview conducted by Matt Friedman of NJ.com with the Democratic Senator, the latter explained that their proposed would not be imposed by way of legislative action; but merely by way of an agreement between the sports leagues and the providers of the sports betting facilities. He made it clear that the state’s present stance on sports betting is that of not prohibiting sports betting offers and activities within the Garden State.    

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