MLB wants 0.25% integrity fee from legalised sports betting

Representatives from Major League Baseball (MLB) and the casino industry met in Las Vegas on 10 October to discuss a potential integrity fee from money wagered during legalised sports betting.

MLB

MLB and other professional leagues have told casino executives they want a 0.25% integrity fee from all sports betting activities, which the casino industry has strongly opposed.

Speaking at a panel at the Global Gaming Expo, Kenny Gersh, MLB’s Executive Vice President, Gaming and New Business, said: “From a fairness perspective we think, if you are going to designate someone to be able to make money off of what at the end of the day is our sport and our events because if the Yankees weren't playing the Red Sox last night, you are not betting on the Yankees and the Red Sox ... we think we should be involved in that."

He defended his case by citing fairness and said casinos should effectively pay a royalty if they stand to make money from the sport.

The US Supreme Court overturned the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act in May and, since then, no professional sports league has succeeded in convincing states to write the fee into law.

Sara Slane, American Gaming Association Senior Vice President of Public Affairs , was also speaking at the event and was blunt in her analysis of MLB’s stance.

She said: “I mean, look, you want a cut of the revenue without any of the risk that's associated with it. That's why we have to go through the regulatory process. We invest billions of dollars in buildings, in our licenses that cost us millions of dollars to go through. You want us to take that risk, pay you and then you are going to benefit on the back end as well.”

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