Sweeney Urges Opposition To Sports Betting ‘Integrity Fees’
Reaches Out To State Leaders Nationwide To Block ‘Extortion Attempts’ By League Owners
TRENTON – Senate President Steve Sweeney sent the attached correspondence to the governors and legislative leaders in all 50 states detailing the legal history of New Jersey’s fight to allow sports betting that resulted in the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark decision reversing the selective ban on sports gaming and urging other state leaders to resist the attempts by the sports leagues to collect so-called “integrity fees.”
Senator Sweeney is urging other state leaders to join in opposition to the team owners’ “hypocritical attempt to extort” money from state sports gaming programs after doing all they could to block New Jersey from enacting its voter-approved plan to allow casinos and racetracks to offer sports bets..
“After the six years of being raked over the coals by the Leagues suffering loss after loss and spending over ten million dollars in legal fees and hundreds of millions of dollars in tax revenue, New Jersey is finally able to carry out the will of its people by permitting sports wagering by adults,” Senator Sweeney said in the correspondence. “Now that their efforts have been ultimately unsuccessful they wish themselves to make ‘the fast buck’ and to ‘get something for nothing’.”
Senator Sweeney’s legislation authorizing and implementing sports betting includes provisions restricting players, coaches, referees, umpires, team owners and the major sports organizations from having a financial interest in the wagering.
“Ironically, they are calling this extortion attempt an ‘integrity fee,’ even while fully aware that providing participants a stake in the volume of betting would amount to what could more accurately be called an ‘anti-integrity’ fee,” said Senator Sweeney. “Taking the Leagues at their word, giving them a ‘piece of the action’ would make suspicions grow whenever turning-point calls in close games go in favor of the more popular team – whose presence in the ‘big game’ would drive ratings and betting.”
Senator Sweeney noted that neither Nevada nor any other state pays the integrity fees to the leagues and their wealthy owners, and that it would be uncompetitive for New Jersey or any other state to concede to their attempts.
Sports Betting Letter to Governors