The National Basketball Association (NBA) has reportedly changed its stance on legalized nationwide sportsbetting by revealing that it now intends to lend its support to those lobbying members of Congress for a change in the existing law.
According to a report from Legal Sports Report, the NBA previously declared that it would support the regulation of legalized sportsbetting but did not intend to play an active role in advocating for the repeal of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) of 1992. It also purportedly joined with the National Hockey League (NHL) and the National Football League (NFL) in front of the United States Supreme Court last month to defend the legislation that permits only venues in Nevada, Delaware, Montana and Oregon to offer wagering on sports.
“Our view has been that if it’s illegal [at the federal level], that’s not the right way to start off legal sportsbetting in the United States; under a cloud [and] doing it in violation of federal law,” Dan Spillane, Vice-President and Assistant General Counsel for the NBA, reportedly told Yahoo Sports during last week’s Sports Betting USA conference in New York. “At the same time, we agree with New Jersey on the ultimate policy outcome that having legal [and] regulated sportsbetting in the United States is the best place to end up. The disagreement is just on how to get there.”
The United States Supreme Court is currently considering a lawsuit brought by New Jersey that seeks to overturn the 25-year-old piece of federal legislation that bans sportsbetting in all but four states and Spillane reportedly declared that there would be ‘a little bit more clarity’ once this matter is resolved ‘one way or another’ and that this would subsequently clear the way for a more open discussion about legalized nationwide sports wagering.
“We have advisors in DC [and] we have legislation that we’ve been pulling together, talking with other stakeholders in this area,” Spillane reportedly explained. “It’s a slow process. When the leagues were all just unanimously opposed to it, it really wasn’t, I think, a practical discussion to have, and now it is.”
Geoff Freeman, Chief Executive Officer for the American Gaming Association lobby group, reportedly welcomed the NBA’s about-face and proclaimed that his members share the league’s ‘commitment to integrity and rigorous regulation’.
“We look forward to working together,” read a statement from Freeman.