Adam Silver: NBA is “Intellectual Property Creator”, Betting Fee is Very Fair

Adam Silver, commissioner of the NBA, was asked about the proposed 1% fee on sportsbooks who accept wagers on NBA games at the All-Star game last week. He had this to say:

So I’m not sure if your math is right, but let me just say that we’ve been asked by multiple jurisdictions for our point of view on how sports betting legislation should work, and right now there are roughly 20 States that are actively considering sports betting bills in anticipation of the Supreme Court overturning PASPA.

We created in our mind what a model bill should look like. What was included, to your point, in that model bill is a 1% fee, call it integrity fee, call it a royalty to the league.

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.

Having said that, it’s what our view of a model bill was. We were happy to sit with legislators and look at the economics and talk about what is the best system? I will say what will come with legalized sports betting are enormous additional expenses for the league that go directly to integrity. Our ability to monitor that data, our ability to flag problem issues, trends around the league, enforcement, additional training.

So, again, we’ve never suggested that this is the only way to look at it. In fact, the 1% came directly from other jurisdictions outside the United States that used that very fee as the model for how leagues or content creators should be compensated for the use of their intellectual property.

But to the extent that we sit down and there are other ways and better ways to reach a fair result, we’re happy to have those discussions.