NBA would back legalized sports betting if it gets cut of the action

Associated Press

For years now, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has been out in front on the issue of legalized sports gambling. The logic has been that it’s inevitable, so the NBA (and other professional sports leagues) should be involved to help keep proper controls on everything.

Unsaid in all this? The NBA sees it as a massive new revenue stream.

Wednesday, NBA attorney Dan Spillane testified in front of a New York State Senate committee on the issue, and Brian Windhorst of ESPN has the details.

The NBA wants 1 percent of every bet made on its games in addition to other regulations, a request that could create massive revenue for the NBA and other sports leagues in the future.

Spillane also said the NBA wants more widespread access to gambling for its fans, pushing for bets to be made legal on smartphones and kiosks and not just inside casinos and racetracks. That would increase the amount of wagering and, in turn, create more revenue for the league under its desired plan.

“We have studied these issues at length,” Spillane said in his statement to lawmakers. “Our conclusion is that the time has come for a different approach that gives sports fans a safe and legal way to wager on sporting events while protecting the integrity of the underlying competitions.”

The state of New Jersey passed a law to legalize sports gambling, and that is currently before the Supreme Court. If the conservative court backs states rights, it would open the door to other states legalizing sports betting as well.

Silver has made it clear in the past what he wants is Congress to pass a national bill organizing sports gambling, so that there are not different rules state-to-state. While there’s some logic to that, good luck getting anything through this Congress, they could barely agree on paying for health care for children and made that a political football.

This is something to watch going forward, but now we have a good idea why the owners are okay with backing this.