Now The Pittsburgh Pirates Think They Deserve A Sports Betting ‘Integrity’ Fee

Written By Marc Meltzer | Last Updated
Leagues asking for an integrity fee from sports betting has been all the rage this year. Everyone wants their share. The arguments for “integrity” has been so poor that some leagues have switched to a more royalty-based fee. The leagues DGAF what the fee is called, they just want that money. Leagues may have been first in line looking for a cut of the revenue from sports betting but more entities are stepping in. Leagues, teams, and casino operators recently shared their thoughts on the matter in Pennsylvania. They each spoke up about how revenue from sports betting should be divided. The inclusion of specific organizations requesting a handout from gambling money went to another level in Pennsylvania. Not only did a professional sports franchise ask for some of the many riches derived from a fee for sports gambling in the state, but they asked for more. The Pittsburgh Pirates have stated that they want their share of the integrity/royalty fee that Major League Baseball may receive. Fair enough. They went on to say that they also need more money from the state taxes to keep their stadium operational. From the Pirates:
“Providing a professional sports product is a costly endeavor…The capital needs at PNC Park are significant and unfortunately are much higher than the current funds allocated to them by our landlord.” “It stands to reason that a portion of the revenue collected from sports wagering should be allocated to the maintenance and capital upkeep of PNC Park and the other sports-related facilities in Pennsylvania which provide for sports wagering in the first place.”
You can see the full unedited letter at Legal Sports Report. Their 17-year-old gift of a stadium isn’t old enough to be considered a millennial. However, PNC Park could already be falling apart. On Wednesday night there was a little backlog in the Pirates dugout. Oopsie! Someone done clogged up the drains inside the dugout leading to the Pirates clubhouse. There’s no doubting that PNC Park is one of the most beautiful baseball stadiums in the country. The Pirates have been asking the state for funds to maintain the stadium for the past five to seven years. Despite being a profitable business, it probably makes sense that the state pay for upkeep since the residents of Pennsylvania paid to build the stadium. The good news for the Pirates is that the Pennsylvania state tax on sports gambling is so high that there might actually be money available to them when sports betting becomes legal in the state. Of course, a sportsbook operator has to decide to take bets in Pennsylvania. It might be difficult to make a profit with the potentially high tax and integrity/royalty fee. Right now, the tax rate proposed for sports betting is 34%. New Jersey, for comparison, has a tax rate for sports betting between 8.5% and 14.5% depending on how and where the bets are placed.