NBA commissioner Adam Silver is all in favor of legalizing betting on the sport he governs, and penned an op-ed piece in the New York Times explaining the reasons why.
“Congress should adopt a federal framework that allows states to authorize betting on professional sports, subject to strict regulatory requirements and technological safeguards,” Silver said.”
“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.”
More eyeballs on the sport obviously means more money for those involved, and Mavericks owner Mark Cuban couldn’t agree more with the commissioner’s poition.
“I agree 100 percent,” Cuban said Saturday night before the Mavericks’ game against the Houston Rockets. “I think we’re the world’s biggest hypocrites when we say, ‘Oh, we don’t want you betting on our games,’ and then we get all excited about the sports betting line and people go to Vegas on trips won from the NBA or NFL. I mean, it’s hugely hypocritical.
“I just think that Adam did the exact right thing. I think by focusing on the federal regulations and making the changes there, that it will change. It’s just a question of when.
“I think over the next three to five years, it will change. And it’ll be interesting to see how the NFL reacts as well, because they’ve still so far said that they’re adamant against it because I guess they have data that says the NFL doesn’t benefit from gambling.”
The NFL is the most popular sport in the United States in large part due to fans gambling on games — if not straight up on sides or totals, then on fantasy sports which keep the masses engaged.
The NBA is trying to embrace the fantasy side by partnering with FanDuel, which offers daily fantasy games for cash (and is also an NBC Sports partner). But making it easy (and legal) for fans to wager on the outcomes of games would undeniably increase the popularity of the sport.