We all know sportsbetting is coming and just a few days after the federal ban was lifted, many states are working as quickly as possible to put together plans to regulate sports gambling. There are so many things that need to be covered (no pun intended) from age requirement, to where you can bet, what the tax rate will be, ect. One big thing that is inevitably going to come up and will need to be addressed is the integrity of the game and the professional leagues being worried about their on field product being tarnished by sportsbetting. I have some ideas on how these leagues can protect the integrity of the game.
The NBA has been preparing for this announcement more than the other three professional leagues and commissioner Adam Silver has already proposed an, “integrity fee.” It will be a big time battle between the states and leagues on how this fee is determined. The NBA wants a percentage of each bet that is placed on their sport. As you can imagine, that dollar figure could be a huge chunk. I do think that some sort of profit sharing/fee will need to be paid to the leagues for this grand master scheme of legal sports betting to work. How the leagues spend that money is going to be key to protecting the on field/court product and maintain the integrity of the game.
I think that each league should hire teams to investigate/monitor the players, coaches, and referees. Crazy thought right? Not if they want to ensure that there isn’t any funny business going on. The main thing here that should be monitored is each player, coach, and referee’s phone activity. This is easy to do in this day and age with the technology of the phone companies. Of course, a lot of people will say that this is invading the privacy of the players, coaches, and refs but if they want to sign that huge contract that pays millions of dollars each season, they can sacrifice their privacy. Scanning texts and randomly monitoring phone calls would be a key component in ensuring that players aren’t being offered large sums of money to fix games or tipping people off. It should be included in each player’s contract that they can’t gamble on any sports. There should also be a ZERO tolerance policy so first guy that gets caught is banned for life, from all sports so we don’t have deal with any Tim Tebow situations of a quarterback trying to make it in another sport.
Each league will need to work with the states to create a regulated system to prevent major scandals. At first, people will only be able to bet at casinos and race tracks. However, the mobile apps will be developed pretty quickly and people will be able to bet on their phones when in the legal territory (“Please Enable Location Services To Use This App”). The states need to make sure that they require in depth information for people that sign up and open accounts. The states should work with the leagues to investigate each person that signs up and who they have ties to. This is going to require a lot of time and money to do but it’s the only way to ensure that Carlos Martinez isn’t texting his buddy to text his buddy that he’s going to have an “off” night. Although it’s a little scary that if they are smart about it and come up with a code to use that it will be impossible to track. If some pitcher comes up with a scheme and talks to his buddy in person and says if I text a “2” that means that I’m going to have an off night.
It will be interesting to see what they put together and we will be able to see if pretty soon (in the next four months across 10+ states. It will take a lot of brain power to put together a system that works to protect the integrity of the game. Good thing the people working on this are a lot smarter than me and they have multiple Masters degrees across various subjects. The only Masters degree I have is in covering spreads.