USA: Ohio County Justice, Shawn Fluharty (D-Ohio), has entered into a potential sports betting revenue sharing war with professional sports leagues.
In a bill sponsored at the House, Fluharty argued pros should not earn any revenue from sports betting activities in West Virginia if the Supreme Court ultimately overturns a 26-year-old ban on sports betting in the state.
The current faceoff between Fluharty and the professional sports leagues is based on speculation over what Supreme Court’s decision on legalizing sports betting in several US states.
Before 1992, sports betting was only operative in Delaware, Oregon, Montana and Nevada. The 1992 Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Acts bans the activities in all other US states, except the four original states already betting on sports prior to 1992.
Pros Say necessary safeguards would protect integrity of consumers and the leagues
Since the Supreme Court in the suit between Christie vs NCAA might overrule the 26-year-old ban and legalize sports betting across the entire US states, West Virginia is prepping itself to benefit from the potential windfall.
Two major hurdles against the development, Major League Baseball and the National Basketball Association are demanding a 1 per cent integrity fee from the states as a way to preserve consumer protection if the Supreme Court goes ahead and revokes the sports betting ban.
The NBA and the MLB insist that protecting the integrity of the leagues as well as those of consumers could be at stake unless “necessary safeguards” are put in place. They state the 1 per cent integrity fee demanded from sports betting in West Virginia will help.
Furthermore, NBA’s Mike Bass demands West Virginia compel casinos to report any unusual betting activity to the pros, while also empowering the leagues to pull out of any unwanted betting activity.
The NBA enjoins West Virginia’s Legislature to ensure a sports betting bill be passed take cognizance of these necessary safeguards. But MLB wrote that the proposed bill “unfortunately falls short of meeting those critical standards” which could ensure “robust and enforceable protections” for betting consumers.
Fluharty says sports betting must create new revenue for state
Fluharty spurns the pros demands, saying the “1 per cent integrity fee is an absolute joke.” According to him, the pros have no rights to expect any revenues from sports betting in West Virginia since Nevada does not even concede any revenues to them; and not when the pros would not even let “Pete Rose in the Hall of Fame because he bet on sports”.
“At the 11th hour, these leagues want to spend a lot of money in our state just because they want a piece of the pie,” Fluharty said.
“If they would get their integrity clause, it essentially kills sports betting in West Virginia. It would negatively impact the ability to generate revenue in West Virginia because more money would go to the leagues than would come to the state.”
Much of the USA without regulated sports betting is caught between a rock and a hard place in 2018, with millions of dollars going to offshore gambling sites.
The logical argument taking place is that they are better off having some control over money being wagered, rather than not seeing things like irregular betting patterns in places they have no control over.