ESPN player poll: Do pro jocks want legal sports betting?

Oct 12, 2012 |
The battle to legalize sports betting is going to the U.S. Supreme Court. And as most in the sports betting community already know, it's in a hurry to get there. 

This report by Chad Millman, Editor in Chief of ESPN The Magazine, talks about the latest in the legal battle taking place between the state of New Jersey and the four major pro sports leagues and the NCAA is destined to reach the Supreme Court level for a ruling in the near future.

The state has hired Ted Olson, who served as United States Solicitor General from June 2001 to July 2004 under President George W. Bush. And the leagues have countered with Olson’s successor, Paul Clement.

"You don't hire these guys unless you plan on this going to the Supreme Court sooner rather than later," Joe Brennan, boss of the Internet wagering lobbying firm IMEGA, recently told Millman.

If you've been following this story closely, none of this is really new to you. What is new is that ESPN The Magazine did a confidential poll in the most recent issue with 67 pro athletes on whether or not they think sports gambling should be made legal.

"92 percent of NHLers said yes, 59 percent of MLBers said yes, 42 percent of NFLers said yes and 30 percent of NBAers said yes" according to the article. 

The article also provided quotes from a standout NHL defenseman: "Sure, why not? Now that you ask, why isn't it already legal? I know in Canada you can go to the gas station and bet on sports and a lot of people do that. It doesn't seem to have made any impact on the sport or the players."

The state legislature and residents have recently voted to allow sports betting. And New Jersey governor Chris Christie wants to grant casinos and racetracks licenses to do so.

In 1992, Congress passed the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA), which banned sports betting in all states (except for Nevada, Oregon, Montana and Delaware). The federal law gave New Jersey an extra year to legalize sports wagering, a cutoff date it failed to meet.

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