As the state of New York works on to legalizing sports betting, more leagues are starting to throw their opinions into the fire.
Most recently was the three NFL teams of New York. The New York Giants, New York Jets, and Buffalo Bills co-signed a letter directed at The New York State Senate Racing, Gaming, and Wagering Committee regarding the integrity of their respective league and other leagues in the US.
The letter was written as on the behalf of the NFL, and plainly laid out the current stance of the league’s regards to betting, which has been a little in question. As the only league without an official betting partner, is NFL is straight up against sports betting or simply looking for more regulations?
From New York Teams, To New York
The letter laid out four specific points that the NFL would like NY Senator Joseph Addabbo Jr. and Committee to consider.
- ”A legal, regulated sports betting environment with substantial consumer protections”
- ”Protection of our content and intellectual property, including from those who attempt to steal or misuse it”
- ”Fan access to official, reliable league data”
- ”Adequate resources, monitoring and enforcement tools necessary for law enforcement to protect our fans by eliminating the illegal sports betting marketplace and penalizing bad actors here at home and abroad”
The letter goes on to make a few other suggestions about things the NFL would like the Commission to look at. One of their more interesting suggestions was the idea to either require sportsbooks to work with leagues to determine what prop bets leagues want offered, or eliminate prop bets as a whole.
Other highlights include telling New York to ban wagers from athletes, coaches, referee, or employees from a league or franchise, and an age requirement of 21 years old.
The league also spelled out their hopes for helping to shape the NY market in a separate section titled “Creating Integrity in the Marketplace.” In it, they suggest requiring operator licenses and audits, information-sharing between necessary parties, responsible gaming outreach, and action against illegal books.
Mirrors a Previous NFL Letter to Congress
For those who have been paying attention to the various sports betting debates, it’s clear that the NFL hasn’t been. In fact, the letter present to New York is nearly identical to one that was sent by the NFL to Congress back in September 2018, and one sent to Pennsylvania in June 2018.
The suggestions from the NFL to New York mirror, almost identically, the actions taken by other states like New Jersey and West Virginia. The thought that New York wouldn’t require an age limit of 21 or older is laughable, as well as the idea that New York wouldn’t be licensing operators.
The other suggestion that New York eliminate prop bets is simply not feasible for sportsbooks and unwise for the state. While not the main bets, prop bets provide a significant portion of profits for sportsbooks, and asking the state to eliminate them is asking the state to eliminate a fair amount of tax revenue.
Another thing that the NFL doesn’t realize is that states have only limited power to stop eliminate illegal sportsbooks. The wording of “contemplate criminal penalties for illegally offering or accepting sports wagers,” implies action against these illegal books instead of consumers.
The problem here is that most illegal sportsbooks are also offshore and out of New York jurisdiction to actually do anything beyond banning their IP addresses for people in New York.
One more highlight that the letter addresses is the idea of fake matches being offered by sports betting operators, which the NFL justifies mentioning by mentioning “incidents in lower level soccer leagues around the world.” It’s … not likely that US professional leagues will have this problem.
The upshot of the whole thing ends up being that most of the things that the NFL suggested will end up being implemented anyway, and the likely lack of power given to the league to stop certain NFL betting will likely disappoint the NFL to no end.
The letter ends up showing that the NFL hasn’t followed the growth of sports betting very closely across the nation. Most of their suggestions have been implemented since the original letter to Congress. One can only hope the league will begin to follow how states are regulating the industry in the future.