NBA, MLB insist on 1% cut of sports betting handle

The National Basketball Association and Major League Baseball continue to press their demand for a 1% cut of legal sports betting handle, despite nearly every other stakeholder deriding the plan as unworkable.

Monday brought committee hearings into West Virginia legislators’ plans to be ready in case the US Supreme Court strikes down the federal sports betting prohibition. Legislators are considering a bill that would allow the state’s five casino operators to offer sports betting under the oversight of the West Virginia Lottery Commission.

The legislation could come up for a floor vote on Friday, but the NBA and MLB are doing their best to derail the vote, based on the leagues’ belief that they deserve a 1% cut of all wagers placed on their respective sports. This ‘integrity fee’ has been widely slammed as an overly generous slice of what is an extremely low-margin business.

Speaking at Monday’s hearing on behalf of both the NBA and MLB, attorney Scott Ward claimed the leagues would use their slice of betting handle to monitor for betting activity for suspicious patterns and to enforce bans on their players making wagers. The leagues also want to require betting operators to use league-provided data for live betting.

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