|According to a report on news portal Politico.com, the National Hockey League (NHL), the National Basketball Association, the National Football League (NFL) and Major League Baseball spent at least $2.6 million last year lobbying Members of Congress.|
Citing research from the Center for Responsive Politics, Politico.com stated that the governing bodies for America’s most popular sports splashed the cash in order to gain influence on high-profile issues such as the use of steroids, cable programming and maintaining the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA).
One of the most gambled on sports in America, the NFL has now taken the lead in lobbying against legislation proposed by Barney Frank that would reverse UIGEA and regulate the $15 billion industry. The League was one of the main protagonists in passing the legislation blocking financial transactions between online casinos and financial institutions by working with attorneys general, church groups and other sports leagues in 2006.
“We don’t want to be used as a betting vehicle,” said Joe Browne, Executive Vice-President of Public Affairs for the NFL.
“We don’t want our games to be used that way. And if we can control it, we’ll work hard to do it.”
Politico.com stated that the NFL is also a major influence on the thinking of hockey administrators. According to NHL lobbyist Philip Hochberg, the body is 'monitoring' rather than actually lobbying in 2008 and is following the lead of the NFL because it has been ‘aggressively following that issue’.