Several NFL football teams have signed a letter written by the NFL that was sent to New York gambling regulators over the state’s sports gambling efforts. The teams are concerned about the future of the industry and wanted to make sure that their opinions were heard. However, only one of the teams is actually from the state – the others are in New Jersey.
The New York Giants, the New York Jets and the Buffalo Bills may be linked to New York, but the Jets and the Giants play in New Jersey. Their field is MetLife Stadium, which happens to be a part of the Meadowlands Sports Complex, home to the FanDuel Sportsbook. Given that the sportsbook is the most successful in the state, it seems a little strange that the teams would come out against sports gambling.
The letter is designed to, once again, try to show why the sports leagues deserve an integrity fee on sports wagers. This, despite the fact that “integrity” has always been a main component of all sports leagues’ policies. The letter reads, in part, “There is no greater priority for the NFL than protecting the integrity of our sport and the welfare of our players. Fans, players, coaches and personnel deserve to know that we are doing everything possible to ensure no improper influences affect how our games are played and that we are taking all appropriate steps to ensure that their participation in our games is not subjected to unfair and unwarranted allegations relating to sports betting.”
The NFL wants to try to convince New York to add “four core standards” to its sports gambling legislation. The first, stronger consumer protection, is understandable, as is the desire to eliminate “the illegal sports betting marketplace.” However, the other two will certainly cause some critics to surface.
The NFL seeks the “protection of [its] content and intellectual property,” as well as what will most likely turn out to be a request for more money. The league wants to ensure that legal sports gambling in New York incorporates official league data, and that data will almost certainly come at a price. The letter asserts, “An essential component of consumer protection is a requirement that the information used to settle these wagers is correct and timely, something that can only come from official data provided by the sports leagues themselves.”
New York is one of the few states – very few – that have indicated that the integrity fee “might” be a good idea. That certainly gave the leagues a bit of enthusiasm to try to convince lawmakers to keep thinking of their best interests, and not the best interests of the sports gambling industry or bettors.