NFL stresses integrity as sports betting debate continues
Roger Goodell, commissioner of the NFL American football league, has called for a focus on integrity as the US considers expanding national sports betting laws.
New Jersey is leading the charge for nationwide regulation of sports wagering in the US, with the goal of overturning the federal 1992 Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA).
PASPA makes it unlawful for governmental entities to sponsor, operate, advertise, promote, licence or authorise betting, gambling or wagering schemes that are based on games played by amateur or professional athletes.
Nevada is the only US state in which PASPA does not apply, but the US Supreme Court is expected to make a decision on New Jersey’s case in June and could in turn open up the market nationwide.
Although the majority of professional sports leagues in the country were initially against this expansion, a number have recently stated that they could support the move, if it were of benefit to their respective competitions.
Last week, the NBA basketball league unveiled its vision for sports betting in the US, should the country opt to introduce wider regulations.
Goodell, of the NFL, has now also spoken out over the matter, saying that he does anticipate change, but at the same time called for an ongoing focus on integrity in the sport.
Speaking to ESPN Radio, Goodell said: “To me it it’s very clear, which is about the integrity of the game, you don’t want to do anything that’s going to impact negatively on the integrity of our game.
“You want to be certain that there are no outside influences on our game and that fans don’t even have any issue with that, they understand, whether there’s a perception or not, that there’s no influence in our game – and that’s something that we stand firmly behind on the integrity of our game.
“We see changes going on; obviously I don’t think 10 years ago most people would have looked at having an NFL franchise or an NHL franchise in Las Vegas.
“Clearly there are changes occurring, the Supreme Court is considering changes potentially in laws with respect to gambling across our country.
“And I think we’re going to be prepared as a league to address those, no matter how the Supreme Court comes out, but also how things continue to evolve.
“I think we have, but we are going to protect the integrity of the game, I assure you of that.”
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