12/19/09 – The US national sports leagues have long opposed Internet gambling, but a recent Sports Illustrated interview with NBA Commissioner David Stern gave the perception that attitudes may be softening.
Stern told SI writer Ian Thomsen that legalised sports betting in the United States could be a "huge opportunity," setting the stage for a closer relationship between reputable sports betting and the NBA.
The sports executive's comments came out in SI.com's all-decade project highlighting the best and worst of sports in the 2000s. In the interview Thomsen asked commissioner Stern to examine the last 10 years while also envisioning what the future may hold — including legalised sports betting on NBA games. In the interview, Stern moved closer than any major commissioner in modern times to an acceptance of legalised betting on his games, although he made no firm commitments.
He did, however, open the door to a dialogue that could ultimately lead to a new relationship between the NBA and legalised sports betting, for the first time referring to nationally legalised gambling on the NBA as a "possibility" that "may be a huge opportunity."
Thomsen's concluding remarks gave an encouraging perspective gleaned from the interview when he wrote: "…legalized betting on professional sports in the U.S. is inevitable for two reasons:
(1) If sports wagering becomes a legal and taxable form of revenue, then governments will actively police sports betting in order to protect that revenue base, as well as to safe-guard the leagues that create the windfall of new taxes; and
(2) Betting on games will create more fan interest and, ultimately, bring in more money to the NBA and other leagues."
Readers interested in the full article can find it here: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2009/writers/ian_thomsen/12/11/weekly.countdown/index.html Ian Thomsen>INSIDE THE NBA