Roger Goodell wants Congress to standardize sports betting with at least ‘four core principles,’ but one stands out over the others

  • The NFL’s commissioner, Roger Goodell, wants Congress to oversee sports betting now that states are free to make it legal.
  • Goodell wants uniform standards for sports betting that include at least “four core principles.”
  • While three of the principles feel like no-brainers, the fourth will receive a lot of pushback from casinos and sportsbooks.

The Supreme Court opened the door for widespread legalized sports gambling when it ruled that it should be up to individual states, but the NFL’s commissioner, Roger Goodell, still wants Congress involved to keep things under control, and one of his demands is sure to get some pushback.

Goodell released a statement Monday saying there was “no greater priority for me as the commissioner of the National Football League than protecting the integrity of our sport.”

He went on to say the league had spent “considerable time” planning for a time when sports betting would be more widespread, and he called on Congress to enact standards to keep everything on the up and up.

From the NFL:

“We are asking Congress to enact uniform standards for states that choose to legalize sports betting that include, at a minimum, four core principles:

  1. There must be substantial consumer protections;
  2. Sports leagues can protect our content and intellectual property from those who attempt to steal or misuse it;
  3. Fans will have access to official, reliable league data; and
  4. Law enforcement will have the resources, monitoring and enforcement tools necessary to protect our fans and penalize bad actors here at home and abroad.”

While point Nos. 1, 3, and 4 may seem obvious, the second one is likely to end up being controversial.

As already proposed by the NBA, the NFL appears to be establishing a position in which it wants to receive some of the revenue from sports betting. The NBA’s commissioner, Adam Silver, called it an “integrity fee.”

“A 1% fee, call it integrity fee, call it a royalty to the league,” Silver said during All-Star Weekend. “I would only say from the NBA’s standpoint we will spend this year roughly $7.5 billion creating this content, creating these games. Those are total expenses for the season. So this notion that as the intellectual property creators that we should receive a 1% fee seems very fair to me.”

Silver may have a case, but that 1% is almost certainly not coming out of the profits from the casinos and sportsbooks. Instead, it would most likely mean up-front fees for the gamblers or larger vigs (the difference between what is wagered and won). In other words, it would suddenly become harder for betters to turn a profit and less desirable to start gambling legally.