Top Agenda…US Big 4 discuss legalising sports betting

Since the Supreme Court agreed to rehear New Jersey’s state appeal for legalising sports betting last June, the agenda for ‘licensed US betting’ has been placed at the forefront of US Pro-League Commissioners.

This week In New York, the Chief Commissioners of the ‘Big 4’ Leagues; Roger Goodell (NFL), Adam Silver (NBA), Rob Manfred (MLB) and Gary Bettman (NHL) will meet to discuss the future challenges and opportunities for US sports.

To date, sports betting has split the Commissioners of America’s biggest sports leagues. The NBA’s Adam Silver favours progress to legislate betting at a Federal level and has been championed as a key supporter for licensed sports betting.

The MLB’s Rob Manfred supports Silver’s stance detailing to media that he is ‘in the pro legalisation camp’. However, Manfred has stated that MLB league officials will not support any betting mandate unless it fulfils the needs of all US’ Big 4 leagues.   

Whilst Silver and Manfred support potential changes to US laws, the NFL’s Roger Goodell is a stern opponent of sports betting, publicly stating that the NFL opposed any legislation and supported existing PASPA provisions.

As a Commissioner, Goodell has been asked to re-think his position as a number of NFL franchise owners are open to hearing new provisions for US sports betting.

Goodell’s stance is supported by the NHL’s Gary Bettman who in 2016 detailed to ESPN that he believed that ‘Hockey did not lend itself to betting’. In his opposition, Bettman has further detailed that NHL governance has to take into consideration its seven Canadian hockey teams, where sports betting remains illegal.

Updating stakeholder, the US Supreme Court is expected to hear oral arguments in the New Jersey betting case sometime late this fall or early in 2018.

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