Adam Silver addresses the media at his All-Star Weekend press conference on Saturday.

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver reinforces NBA’s stance on sports betting

By Richard Foster-Shelton
Medill Reports

LOS ANGELES – NBA Commissioner Adam Silver emphasized his belief that the NBA should receive a 1% “integrity fee” if the Supreme Court gives all 50 states the option to legalize sports gambling as expected later this year.

“From the NBA’s standpoint, we will spend this year roughly $7.5 billion creating this content, creating these games,” Silver said during his annual state of the league address. “This notion that as the intellectual property creators that we should receive a one percent fee seems very fair to me.”

The discussion around the legalization of professional sports betting has ramped up considerably in recent weeks as Christie v. NCAA reached the Supreme Court. In 2014, New Jersey governor Chris Christie signed a bill authorizing sports gambling in casinos and racetracks across the state, coming directly into conflict with the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, a 25-year old federal law.

Under PASPA, sports gambling was prohibited in all states except four where state law had already permitted it: Nevada, Delaware, Oregon, and Montana. According to Silver, right now there are roughly “20 states” that are actively considering sports betting bills in anticipation of the Supreme Court overturning PASPA.

“We’ve been asked by multiple jurisdictions for our point of view on how sports betting legislation should work,” Silver said. “We created in our mind what a model bill should look like. In that model bill is a one percent fee. Call it integrity fee, call it a royalty to the league.”

According to Silver, the league’s proposed fee was inspired by jurisdictions outside the United States that have implemented similar fees as the model for “how content creators should be compensated for the use of their intellectual properties.”

Photo at top: Adam Silver addresses the media at his All-Star Weekend press conference on Saturday. (Richard Foster-Shelton/MEDILL)