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NBA Commissioner Supports Sports Betting LegislationPublished November 19, 2014 by Lee R
Silver acknowledges the sign of the times that other countries already accept.
In an interesting development, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has taken a stand on a topic professional sports in America traditionally stay as far away from as possible: legalized sports betting.
Legal Sports Betting Inevitable
Instead of castigating it or avoiding it as a taboo subject according to the tradition of professional sports leaders, Silver was quoted as considering it “inevitable” that sports betting could be legalized.
In a new op-ed for the New York Times, Silver has now gone so far as to support legalized gambling nationwide. Among other things, Silver wrote that “...despite legal restrictions, sports betting is widespread.” In acknowledging the existence of a known yet undocumented activity, he also quoted estimates of “nearly $400 billion...illegally wagered on sports each year.”
Advanced Countries Bet on Sports
At this point, sports betting is legal in other advanced countries such as England, where sports bets can be placed in formats as easily accessible as smartphones and mobile tablets, stadium kiosks or television remote controls.
Regulation in the US would include such mandatory components as monitoring and reporting of unusual betting-line movements; a protocol for license issuing ensuring legitimacy and compliance of betting operators; measures to confirm minimum-age requirements; so-called geo-blocking technology which ensures the availability of betting only in legal regions; filtering mechanisms which would identify and ultimately exclude those exhibiting gambling issues such as addiction or compulsion; and education about responsible gaming posted at relevant online web providers.
Wagering Already Legitimized by American Sports Leagues
Those who might say that gambling is impure, or corruptive per se are not taking into account the fact that people wager on sports all the time, with each other or via legal or illegal gambling providers. Fantasy leagues that cost money to join and pay off bonuses to winners are also borderline cases of sports betting ready, because people are wagering on the performance of players they draft to their fantasy leagues in order to win money from their team's success.
The fact is the NFL and Major Leagues baseball already endorse fantasy leagues, and the National Hockey League is seeking to expand a team into Las Vegas. These are types of gambling that do or will take place despite sports betting being stigmatized according to those league's public policy stance. Silver's honesty is a shift from that, and a huge step towards legal sports betting. The model for a compliant system with integrity is the task of regulation that the states and federal Congress are faced with.