Former MLB, NBA Stars Push for Sports Gambling

Business News

Sports leagues sent retired stars to urge Connecticut to regulate sports gambling in a way that best preserves the integrity of professional athletics.

Former Boston Celtics forward Cedric Maxwell and Al Leiter, a starting pitcher for two decades from the late 1980s through early 2000s, also advocated for what some term the “integrity fee,” giving professional leagues a share of state betting revenues.

These would be needed, the sports representatives said, to provide the technology and security enhancements that would be absolutely essential if the U.S. Supreme Court gives the green light to legalized sports betting later this spring.

“I think the biggest thing Al and I are thinking about is the integrity of the game,” said Maxwell, a key player on Boston Celtics championship teams in 1981 and 1984, and now a Celtics commentator with WBZ-TV in Boston.

Maxwell, 62, who came to the Capitol on behalf of the National Basketball Association, said no one in professional sports wants a “black eye” from a gambling scandal.

Leiter, 52, who now serves as a studio analyst for the MLB Network and a color commentator for the YES Network, asked reporters to imagine the role Major League Baseball and other major sports franchises might play in a legalized sports betting industry — potentially subject to various regulatory systems in 50 different states.