To say the tides turned would be a nice way of putting it.
Pennsylvania is one of a handful of states that have passed sports betting bills that, at one time, would’ve drawn the ire of the country’s top professional sports leagues and the NCAA. That ire has now turned into an iteration of the leagues’ desire to control sports betting once more.
The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) released their temporary sports betting regulations on May 31. Since then, the leagues and the NCAA have offered their opinions on why the temporary legislation isn’t sufficient.
Leagues say there aren’t enough consumer protections
One of the narratives that the leagues have pushed leading up to and after the downfall of Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) this past May is consumer protection. How will states ensure that the information bettors are using to make their bets is accurate?
From their perspective, a team or individual could hide and injury that could influence betting. If consumers don’t have the correct information, they are betting without what should be complete confidence in the data.
Protecting that information is paramount to running a legit sportsbook, the leagues said.
The NFL, MLB and NBA have been the most outspoken about “official data”. Sometime over the past three weeks, the Philadelphia Eagles and Pittsburgh Steelers signed a joint letter to the PGCB. In that letter, in they said the current laws lack clear regulations for official data.
They requested that the laws include provisions for “fan access to official, reliable league data.” In other words, the leagues would most likely work with a contractor to provide “official data” to sportsbooks.
The continuity aspect of the argument has some merit. That is, assuming the MLB, NBA, NFL, NHL, and PGA use the same data provider.
However, in a practical sense, it is a tough sell to say that official data is necessary. After all, sports sites like Yahoo already provide millions of fantasy sports players in-depth and instant updates on player health, game conditions and other factors that would influence roster decisions or, in this case, betting decisions.
University of Pittsburgh asks for money
What makes this round of letters unique is that the University of Pittsburgh is asking for compensation to cover the cost of staffing and operations to protect student-athletes from gambling scandal.
The compensatory payments are known as “impact fees“.
Pitt’s ask for impact fees is similar to what the Pittsburgh Pirates asked for in their letter to the PGCB earlier this month.
While the Pirates certainly have the revenue to cover the extra hires it would need to protect the integrity of Pirates baseball, don’t get caught up in thinking Pitt is cash poor.
According to a 2017 press release from the university, their endowment stood at $3.52 billion, putting them at #26 among the nation’s colleges and universities.