Premier League supports MLB, NBA’s sports betting vision

Business News

The English Premier League agrees with the NBA’s and Major League Baseball’s vision of a legal sports betting market in the United States.

The U.S. Supreme Court is preparing to rule on the future of sports betting in America. A decision is expected by the end of June — possibly as soon as next week — and could open paths for states across the nation to offer legalized sports betting.The players’ associations weighed in on the New Jersey gambling litigation, saying that the unions should have a say in regulation.

As they await the ruling, the NBA and MLB have been lobbying on the issue in more than a dozen of the states interested in sports betting. The NFL, NHL and NCAA remain on the sidelines. Other leagues could come on board at some point. The PGA Tour joined the lobbying effort last week.

Attorneys for the NBA and MLB are asking that sports betting operators be required to use official league data, share customer data, pay a percentage fee of the amount wagered on the sports and allow the leagues to have input on what types of bets sportsbooks are allowed to offer. The EPL supports that framework and believes a partnership between sports leagues and bookmakers would best serve the betting market.

“Broadly, we don’t think what the leagues are asking for is fundamentally wrong, if you’re trying to come up with a framework that works for both parties,” said Adrian Ford, general manager of Football DataCo, the official rights holder for the Premier League and all professional soccer leagues in England and Scotland.

Since its inception in 1992, the EPL has operated alongside the United Kingdom’s legal sports betting market, benefiting financially through data licensing rights, but not through a direct cut of the betting action. Individual clubs are free to have sponsorship agreements with bookmakers. Online sportsbook Bet365 owns Stoke City, and nine clubs have the names of betting sites across the front of their jerseys this season.

“We would not see why there would be an issue about sports getting a return from betting,” Ford told ESPN in a phone interview this week. “We’d echo some of the high-level statements the NBA has made. If someone is making money off us, there’s no reason why we shouldn’t be interested in that and why we shouldn’t have some level of involvement in the commercial return. It’s clearly not what we have here [in the United Kingdom].”