Leagues propose “integrity fee” on sports bets

Photo by Tessa Roy, WPRO News


By Tessa Roy, WPRO News

One day after the Supreme Court struck down a federal sports gambling ban, the state Senate Finance committee took up legislation and a budget article on sports betting. The governor’s proposed budget included about $23 million in revenue from sports betting in hopes that ruling would happen.

Representatives from the PGA Tour, NBA, and MLB proposed to the committee that leagues get a 0.25% “integrity fee” on all bets made on their respective games, saying they felt a fee is justified because the leagues “create the source of the activity on which the entire industry is based” and “bear the majority of the integrity risk” associated with betting, among other reasons. Senate Finance Chair Bill Conley said he was open to hearing more, but wasn’t sold on their first arguments.

“It’s our state. We ought to benefit from this opportunity,” Conley said, adding, “Those games do not belong to you. They belong to the fans.”

The PGA Tour’s David Miller said they’d continue to work with legislators on more details of the fee and how it would give the state a return on its investment.

“We will invest in our product, we will invest in integrity, and ultimately we’ll be aligned with the state and the operators. For us, a big part of the fee is that alignment of interests. We’ll have a direct financial interest in the success of gaming in the state,” Miller said. “We bring a lot of resources to bear, promotion, marketing, product development and so forth. So we feel like the fee essentially aligns our interest and creates that model for working together, that model of partnership that we’re seeking.”