US Sports Leauges Say No To Govt Involvement in Pro Sports but Yes To Govt Ban On Personal Rights

02 May 2007


The sports organizations in the US, represented by lobbyists from Covington & Burling, sent a letter to the offices of Financial Services Committee members a few days ago expressing their displeasure over the possible legalization of any online sports gambling, according to a report in The Hill

“A coalition of major amateur and professional sports leagues is urging members of the House Financial Services Committee to oppose legislation unveiled by Chairman Barney Frank (D-Mass.) that would undo last year’s crackdown on illegal online gambling…”

“Our sports organizations would very strongly oppose any effort to legalize any online sports gambling,” Martin Gold, a lobbyist at Covington & Burling who represents the National Football League (NFL), stated in a letter sent by e-mail to the offices of Financial Services Committee members.” ““We would also oppose any legislation that would legalize and regulate non-sports gambling online, because we do not believe that differential treatment of sports gambling and other gambling online would be sustainable in the current environment,” Gold wrote…”

“The letter, which was signed by five major sports organizations, including the National Basketball Association and Major League Baseball (MLB), prompted a biting reply from Tom Lizardo, chief of staff to avowed libertarian Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas), who sits on the Financial Services panel.

“So the professional sports leagues are directly opposed to the interests of the fans who pay their bills? Is there any explanation of this?” he responded the next day…” “Please don’t tell me something about the altruism of professional sports, especially the NFL. Maybe they could spend a bit more time and effort making sure your retired players are not living in poverty with the billions you make on the Super Bowl.””“Oh, I see ‘keep government out of pro sports’ but have it regulate my personal use of my home computer? Nice,” he concluded…

Norman Singleton, another staffer to Paul, sent the e-mail to the rest of the committee. Less than two hours later Gold responded, asking the pair to forward his reply on to the other members. But they didn’t.

MORE – This article was published May 1, 2007 and can be read in its entirety at The Hill

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