Kentucky Is Latest State That Leagues Should Lose For Sports Betting Integrity Fee
It is mid-September, Week 1 of the National Football League season has come to a close, and five states currently have full-fledged sports betting within their borders. Nevada, Delaware, New Jersey, Mississippi and West Virginia each has its own sports betting laws and regulations, but one thing is in common amongst the territories. None of the states currently provide an integrity or rights fee to any professional sports league.
The lack of a fee has been a point of angst for professional sports leagues to date. They have spent a lot of money in lobbying efforts with nothing to show for it but for a meager effort by U.S. Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer to promote “his position” that it makes most sense for the sports betting industry to be regulated by the federal government with strong oversight by the leagues. His position is really that of the National Basketball Association, Major League Baseball, etc.
But with many other states currently considering sports betting legislation, the leagues’ attempts to include a fee from operators has not ceased. The latest battleground is Kentucky, and the aforementioned leagues, along with their allies, are not playing around.
The NBA and MLB, along with the National Football League and PGA Tour, have hired lobbyists in Kentucky in an effort to persuade legislators that any sports betting law must include an integrity fee for the leagues. They have each hired the same ten lobbyists.
Yet, Kentucky may count as another failure for the leagues when all is said and done.
“It’s not our position to finance professional sports,” says Kentucky State Senator Julian Carroll. “Our goal is to finance state government and properly regulate a gaming system. They are going to need all the lobbyists they can get.”
Carroll added that he sees no sentiment in his state for including a “skim-off” to professional leagues. Why does Carroll’s commentary carry more weight than others? He is the one who introduced a sports betting bill before the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the federal sports betting ban earlier in 2018, so he is definitely someone on top of the issues.