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Adam Silver: Legalized sports betting ‘inevitable’; NBA ‘will ultimately participate’

Sep 4, 2014, 7:31 PM EDT

Adam Silver Adam Silver

NBA commissioner Adam Silver believes that legalized sports betting beyond Las Vegas is coming, and when it does, he has no reservations about the league participating.

Professional sports leagues in the states have traditionally been opposed to the legalization of gambling on their events, because in addition to it being publicly unsavory, it could potentially open up a whole host of problems.

Silver hasn’t exactly said he’s in favor of it, but as he continues to show an exceptional degree of pragmatism in his early months as commissioner, he said that this is something he sees coming, and will embrace it the moment that betting on the sport he governs becomes an acceptable legal option.

From Mason Levinson and Scott Soshnick of Bloomberg:

While the NBA did not support New Jersey Governor Christopher Christie’s plan to implement sports gambling, the league does expect to face and profit from the broadening of legal sports gaming in the U.S., Silver said at the Bloomberg Sports Business Summit in New York.

“It’s inevitable that, if all these states are broke, that there will be legalized sports betting in more states than Nevada and we will ultimately participate in that,” said Silver, 52. …

“If you have a gentleman’s bet or a small wager on any kind of sports contest, it makes you that much more engaged in it,” Silver said. “That’s where we’re going to see it pay dividends. If people are watching a game and clicking to bet on their smartphones, which is what people are doing in the United Kingdom right now, then it’s much more likely you’re going to stay tuned for a long time.”

The benefits to league growth that Silver mentioned are indeed very real; just ask the NFL about that.

Professional football in the states is essentially designed for gamblers. In addition to the weekly point spreads, fantasy football is more popular than ever, and gives millions of fans a stake in multiple games that they would otherwise have little to no interest in caring about at all.

If legalized sports betting becomes more widely available, then Silver is right to get behind it this far in advance. The oddsmakers in Vegas are the first to police the industry, in that the moment big money starts rolling in on one particular game, they immediately know something is up. Legalization keeps everything honest in this regard, and while some will see Silver’s remarks as a negative, in reality, he is simply seeing the future.

  1. limonadamas - Sep 4, 2014 at 7:53 PM

    Who here is surprised? Donaghy was as much of a “rogue official” as those low-level employees at the IRS. hahaha

  2. Hard On For Harden - Sep 4, 2014 at 8:40 PM

    It’s already started with FanDuel, who you’ve been pimping out for close to a year.

  3. sdelmonte - Sep 4, 2014 at 8:43 PM

    He’s probably right. But this isn’t something anyone should be happy about. Gambling hurts enough people as it is. Legalization will just make things that much worse.

  4. money2long - Sep 4, 2014 at 10:37 PM

    What’s a worse addiction: Gambling or alcohol ?

    • 00maltliquor - Sep 5, 2014 at 12:00 AM

      I love ’em both! Lol

      • money2long - Sep 5, 2014 at 11:33 AM

        at the same damn time

      • 00maltliquor - Sep 5, 2014 at 11:41 AM

        Damn right!
        💵 🎲🍺🏀💰💸💲🍻

    • ProBasketballPundit - Sep 5, 2014 at 2:01 PM

      I would say gambling is slightly more destructive to a person’s life but generally there’s a lot more alcoholics. Probably alcohol does more societal damage, gambling more personal and immediate. Both awful. Any type of addiction is awful I mean; alcohol isn’t inherently awful.

  5. luz56 - Sep 4, 2014 at 10:40 PM

    Legal in Canada…. You can bet all the majors….. Funds go to education and betterment of sports

  6. gasan2013pananaw - Sep 5, 2014 at 2:04 AM

    Oh no Mr Silvers. Please don’t do this to the NBA. There will be a lot of “shavers” on the league or at least it will temp players specially if involves big time dollars. Some country has done this “silently”. Let’s say 10,000 dollars per points or higher for 3 points specially the finals. There’s tons of varieties.Let the betting stay on Sin City. That where they belong

    • 00maltliquor - Sep 5, 2014 at 11:35 AM

      That kind of stuff goes on no matter what. And that’s a PROMISE. I’ve been sports betting since 2005 and the stuff I’ve learned along the way is enough to make a grown man cry.

  7. edwardemanuelson - Sep 5, 2014 at 7:39 AM

    Which player or coach will become the Pete Rose of basketball ?

  8. lenbias34pt - Sep 5, 2014 at 8:40 AM

    A bold , forward thinking opinion (statement) from a Commissioner?

    Looks like we have a winner boys!!!!!!!!
    Keep up the good work with our sport Commish.

  9. saint1997 - Sep 5, 2014 at 9:14 AM

    It’s happening in Australia right now. It’s not good, it causes issues, but it’s happening for sure. We’ve always had it and in fact there is more of a push to remove it now. Too bad the politicians are in the pockets of the gambling companies

  10. lenbias34pt - Sep 5, 2014 at 1:45 PM

    Every positive has a negative.

    Legalize as much as possible. It eliminates crime, produces taxes and frees the jails for the violent criminals.

  11. ProBasketballPundit - Sep 5, 2014 at 1:56 PM

    Gambling is a preposterous waste of time & money and one of the most immoral things you can do with either. I’d rather burn a twenty then play another year of fantasy football. Sure, it makes you act like you’re more engaged in a sport/game but you aren’t. You’re just obsessed with statistics and the thrill of the stakes.

    • ProBasketballPundit - Sep 5, 2014 at 1:57 PM

      But for the record: gambling should absolutely be legal. Government can’t tell me how to spend my time/money.

  12. eugenesaxe1 - Sep 5, 2014 at 6:44 PM

    Lead, move over, or get run over. He gets it.

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