With the legalization of sports betting across the U.S. looking more likely, players unions from major North American sports leagues want a seat at the table. The Players Associations for the MLB, NBA, NFL and NHL announced on Thursday they collectively plan to serve as a voice distinct from the interests of those working to legalize gambling on games but whose motivation is profit-based.
"Given the pending Supreme Court decision regarding the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) ... The time has come to address not just who profits from sports gambling, but also the costs. Our unions have been discussing the potential impact of legalized gambling on players' privacy and publicity rights, the integrity of our games and the volatility on our businesses," the Players Associations said in a joint statement.
"Betting on sports may become widely legal, but we cannot allow those who have lobbied the hardest for sports gambling to be the only ones controlling how it would be ushered into our businesses. The athletes must also have a seat at the table to ensure that players' rights and the integrity of our games are protected."
The Supreme Court decision, for which oral arguments were heard last December, is expected by late June.