Major League Baseball is ready to follow the NBA and do a complete 180 on sports gambling. The two leagues are reportedly working with legislators in Indiana to make sure they get a cut if gambling is legalized in the state.
Rep. Alan Morrison of Indiana introduced a bill that would legalize sports gambling in a number of areas in Indiana. If that happens, both MLB and the NBA would like an “integrity fee,” or a percentage of the money wagered on their sports.
David Purdum of ESPN has the breakdown:
Morrison told ESPN that he received input on the bill from NBA and Major League Baseball regarding an “integrity fee” that sports betting operators would have to pay to the sports leagues. The fee is “1 percent of the amount wagered on the sport’s governing body’s events” and would be required to be submitted on a quarterly basis.
The 1 percent integrity fee raised eyebrows in the sports betting industry. Nevada’s sportsbooks’ net win on bets is 4-6 percent, on average.
While both leagues are trying to make a pre-emptive strike on sports gambling, two major hurdles need to be crossed before this happens.
The Supreme Court would need to lift a federal ban on sports gambling. They are currently reviewing that ban, and are expected to make a ruling on it in the next six months, according to Purdum. If the Supreme Court lifts that ban, Indiana would still need to approve sports gambling in the state.
While most leagues have been hesitant to jump into this area, NBA commissioner Adam Silver has spoken out about regulating the gambling industry. In 2014, he wrote an article for the New York Times arguing federal sports gambling should be legal.
MLB commissioner Rob Manfred hasn’t gone that far, but he did tell Yahoo Finance baseball was “re-examining our stance on gambling.”
After hearing about the possible plans in Indiana, it’s clear why both leagues are suddenly in favor of regulated sports gambling: They see money in it.
It’s either that, or MLB is finally aligning itself with Pete Rose. We’ll take the former there.
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Chris Cwik is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Chris_Cwik