You don’t have to look any further than today’s headlines — four professional tennis players in Europe arrested for match-fixing — to understand the NBA’s concern.
With sports betting cleared by the Supreme Court and more and more states in the USA making legal, the concerns about the integrity of the game increase as well. The NBA wants a cut of that sports gambling money — they’ve been asking for one percent, although that is a long process — and say part of that money will go toward not letting gaming become a problem within the sport.
With the NBA in London — where sports betting is legal and big business — for the Knicks vs. Wizards on Thursday, NBA Deputy Commissioner Mark Tatum talked about it to ESPN.
The NBA is preparing to double down on policing its players, teams and staff amid the expansion of legalized sports gambling in the United States, deputy commissioner Mark Tatum told ESPN…
That will mean extra resources to prevent the kind of in-house infractions that have plagued a number of sports, such as soccer, tennis and cricket…
“A lot of it has to do with education with respect to our players, with respect to our teams,” he said. “We’re spending a lot of time learning from the mistakes that were made and what we’re seeing in sports betting in places around the world.
“We’re trying to educate our fans. We’re educating our players and our teams. We’re taking a little bit of a cautious approach here. … But generally, we think it’s a good thing for sports betting to be regulated, to be legalized, so there is better information being captured.”
In the NBA, the concern isn’t as much the old-school “we’ll pay Player X $10,000 to throw the game” type of operations because the handful of players each game who could actually influence a game that way make so much money the gamblers couldn’t give them enough and make it pencil out (that’s more of a college concern where NCAA players are unpaid).
However, a player with a gambling addiction that gets into deep debt could be another matter.
The NBA will have to go forward with these initiatives, regardless of how much — if any — money they get from states as a cut of gambling revenue. While all the professional leagues want their piece of the pie, the casinos and online betting industry aren’t going to just give that money away. Also, the states are going to want their cut. There are a lot of hands out with this newfound revenue source.
It’s all about the money and it’s something to watch unfold in the next few years.