Professional sports reps share pros, cons of sports wagering

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The process of crafting Senate Bill 552 has not only involved Indiana legislators, but also representatives from professional sports leagues.

“For us as the leagues, we supply the sports on which the entire activity is based, so we feel like it’s important for us to have some voice in the process,” said Vice President Assistant General Counsel for the PGA Tour David Miller. 

Miller says the league supports the bill largely due to its inclusion of mobile betting.
“We feel like in this day and age where consumers expect to do everything on their phones, including bet, you have to have mobile betting,” said Miller. 

Reps say mobile betting is key to generating significant tax revenue, using other states’ data for comparison.

“Mississippi in January with no mobile betting had $35 million wagered in sports. New Jersey, with full mobile sports betting, had $385 million wagered,” said Director of Government Affairs for FanDuel Andrew Winchell. 

“Without mobile betting, sports betting would generate roughly $18 million for the state in tax revenue; with mobile betting it would be $42 million,” said Miller. 

The American Gaming Association estimates that $150-200 billion is wagered illegally each year. But some say integrity is easily compromised even when sports betting becomes legal.  
Indiana State University’s Assistant Athletic Director of Compliance Joel McMullen offered the University’s thoughts on sports wagering with the following statement:

In regards to the State of Indiana’s possible adoption of legislation permitting sports wagering, this raises serious concerns for NCAA institutions such as Indiana State University.  The NCAA and its member institutions oppose all forms of legal and illegal sports wagering, which has the potential to undermine the integrity of sports contests and jeopardizes the welfare of student-athletes and the intercollegiate athletics community. 

According to the NCAA’s statement in September, 2018, the NCAA staff will continue to have monitoring and detection solutions in place and will be provided alerts if suspicious sports wagering activities involving NCAA competitions are identified. As it has in the past, when warranted, the national office will notify member schools, conferences, regulatory agencies and law enforcement about suspect activity.

On an institutional level, my office has been in contact with other compliance offices around the country that currently deal with legalized sports wagering on a daily basis.  This has given us terrific insight into what the challenges are and how to address them.  Clearly, it will be incumbent upon our compliance staff at ISU to be even more diligent in our efforts to educate our student athletes, coaches and staff on NCAA sports wagering rules and the pitfalls of sports wagering in general.

Sports wagering issues arise on a variety of fronts, indirectly and directly.  As a result, our efforts will be multi-pronged in hopes of preventing the severe consequences for engaging in this type of activity.  Beyond that, our staff will work with other key players in the community so that as a team, we can ensure compliance with these rules and regulations. 

Indianapolis Colts Chief Legal Officer Dan Emerson shared his support of the “Gaming matters” bill on Wednesday while also touching on integrity. “As Indiana considers legalized sports betting in past environment, there’s no greater priority for the Colts, the NFL, and the NCAA than protecting our games and the wellfare of our players, our coaches and our fans,” said Emerson. 

Milleer says integrity is a huge priority for the league reps who have worked with legislators on Senate Bill 552. 

“We want to bring it into the light, we want to regulate the activity, we want to get more information on what’s happening in the betting markets, so we can monitor and make sure that there’s no corruption or other issues in our sports,” said Miller. 

An amendment to SB 552 states that official league data is to be used for wagering, rather than third party sources, which is another positive in the minds of league reps.

The bill is up for a vote next week in the House Public Policy Committee.

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