Pro Sports vs. Online Gambling

Published February 10, 2008 by OCR Editor

Pro Sports vs. Online Gambling

The NBA has paid $330,000 to lobby against easing the ban on online gambling, keeping it illegal to bet on basketball scores.

Last year was a good year for McGuirewoods Consulting. The National basketball Association paid the lobbying firm $330,000, according to the Senate's public records office.

The large chunk of the sum, $280,000, was paid in the second half of 2007, after the NBA learned one of its top referees was engaging in gambling activities.

The league’s response was to increase its lobbying efforts, as expressed in the financial investment, into preserving the ban on sports gambling particularly, and to strengthen the ban on online gambling in general.

Most lobbying efforts by the NBA were directed at drugs and steroids policy and in support of work visas for foreign players. These are obvious interests of the NBA.

But when the NBA lobbies against online gambling, is it really the right move? Some voices heard point at the positive results that may come out of lobbying for the contrary. They are two:

  • Legalizing and regulating sports betting online would prevent underground and illegal activities from taking place, and
  • Income from taxing such gambling activities can go toward players’ pensions and other good causes.

For now, the lobbying efforts are successful mainly in keeping the status quo, namely barring online gamblers from collecting earnings on their wins and lobbying groups the only ones involved making money above the table. With some thought and effort, this might yet change.

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