May 21, 2018 / 6:58 PM / 3 months ago

NFL commissioner Goodell addresses sports betting decision, lays out league concerns

One week after the Supreme Court cleared states to regulate sports gambling in a landmark decision, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell issued a statement addressing the league’s stance.

Apr 26, 2018; Arlington, TX, USA; NFL commissioner Roger Goodell annouces the number twelve overall pick for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

“As it was for my predecessors, there is no greater priority for me as the Commissioner of the National Football League than protecting the integrity of our sport,” Goodell’s statement begins. “Our fans, our players and our coaches deserve to know that we are doing everything possible to ensure no improper influences affect how the game is played on the field. This week’s ruling by the Supreme Court has no effect on that unwavering commitment.”

“We have spent considerable time planning for the potential of broadly legalized sports gambling and are prepared to address these changes in a thoughtful and comprehensive way, including substantial education and compliance trainings for our clubs, players, employees and partners. These efforts include supporting commonsense legislation that protects our players, coaches and fans and maintains public confidence in our games. We are asking Congress to enact uniform standards for states that choose to legalize sports betting that include, at a minimum, four core principles:”

The four principles outlined in the statement are:

1. There must be substantial consumer protections;

2. Sports leagues can protect our content and intellectual property from those who attempt to steal or misuse it;

3. Fans will have access to official, reliable league data; and

4. Law enforcement will have the resources, monitoring and enforcement tools necessary to protect our fans and penalize bad actors here at home and abroad.

Only Nevada was exempt from the 1992 federal gambling law that was overturned last Monday — the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act — prohibiting any state from the ability to “sponsor, operate, advertise, promote, license, or authorize by law” sports wagering.

The American Gaming Association estimated that Americans illegally wager about $150 billion annually.

“The legalization of sports gambling requires an important policy choice, but the choice is not ours to make. Congress can regulate sports gambling directly, but if it elects not to do so, each state is free to act on its own. Our job is to interpret the law Congress has enacted and decide whether it is consistent with the Constitution. PASPA is not,” Justice Samuel Alito wrote for the court.

Goodell called on congress to establish “core regulatory framework” for legalized sports betting in an initial statement issued after the decision.

Goodell said during Super Bowl pregame in February that the NFL would be focused on integrity. The league has a long-standing adversarial take on sports betting and was part of a lawsuit against New Jersey to block the decision.

—Field Level Media

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