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NBA

NBA defends quest for ‘integrity fee’ payment

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. — The NBA is defending its quest to receive part of the money that states or gambling companies take in as part of legal sports betting.

On Wednesday, New Jersey’s state Senate president called on all 50 states to reject so-called “integrity fees” as part of any sports betting legislation that might be enacted.

In a statement late Wednesday night, the NBA defended its position, saying its games are the foundation of what will be bet on.

“We will continue to collaborate with states on a regulated framework that ensures the protection of our fans and the integrity of our games,” NBA spokesman Mike Bass told The Associated Press. “As the intellectual property creators for this content, our games serve as the foundation for legalized sports betting, providing casinos the ability to earn revenue off our games, while we bear all of the risk that accompanies sports betting and will incur additional expenses to expand our existing compliance and enforcement programs.

“As a result, we believe it is reasonable for casinos to compensate the NBA with a small percentage of the total amount bet on our games,” he said.

Many states vehemently oppose such payments, but some have shown a willingness to negotiate with the leagues.

Major League Baseball said in a statement Wednesday it will focus on “developing meaningful partnerships” with state governments and betting operators. Representatives of the NHL and the NFL did not respond to requests for comment.

The NFL wants Congress to pass federal legislation regulating sports betting, which could include a determination on whether the leagues should get such payments.

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