NFL commissioner Roger Goodell says Congress should enact uniform standards for any states that plan to legislate sports betting.
Goodell detailed the league’s position in a statement Monday that reiterated the NFL’s stance that legalized sports gambling in the United States should be governed by federal law rather than state law. The Supreme Court ruled last week to strike down a 1992 law that barred most state-authorized sports gambling.
In suggesting four core principles that should be maintained for any form of legalized sports betting, Goodell stressed that leagues can “protect our content and intellectual property from those who attempt to steal or misuse it.” He also said guidelines must provide substantial consumer protections; ensure fans will have access to official, reliable league data; and that law enforcement will have the resources, monitoring and enforcement tools necessary “to protect our fans and penalize bad actors here at home and abroad.”
After emphasizing the importance of protecting the integrity of his sport, Goodell noted the NFL has been planning for the potential of legalized sports gambling in states other than Nevada.
“(We) are prepared to address these changes in a thoughtful and comprehensive way, including substantial education and compliance trainings for our clubs, players, employees and partners,” he said. “These efforts include supporting common sense legislation that protects our players, coaches and fans and maintains public confidence in our games.”
The NFL has long opposed any forms of gambling on its games, though it has approved the move of the Oakland Raiders to Las Vegas in 2020, and has strong ties to fantasy football, which is not tied to the Supreme Court decision.
Many sports leagues have expressed concerns about the varied betting rules each state could pass, where bets could be placed, and who would be overseeing them.
Those leagues also believe they are entitled to an “integrity fee.” The easiest way to arrange for a cut of the proceeds would be negotiating with Congress rather than deals with individual states. If it passed a nationwide bill, Congress could require casinos, tracks or state governments to share some of their revenue with the sports leagues – or pay the integrity fees, designed to cover the costs of policing betting.
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