Friday November 14,2014 : N.B.A. CHIEF AGAIN PUSHES FOR LEGALISED SPORTS BETTING
Baskeball chief reprises his views on sports betting in a widely reported op-ed.
The outspoken National Basketball Association Commissioner, Adam Silver, has again hit the US headlines, restating his belief that legalised sports betting on a wider basis is not a bad thing in a New York Times op-ed Thursday that has been widely picked up by other mainstream newspapers.
Silver wants to see sports betting properly regulated at state level instead of the present restrictive regime imposed by the federal Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act which confines sports gambling to only four US states, and full-on sports betting to Nevada alone.
Attempts to break out of the PASPA by states like New Jersey have recently been the cause of extensive litigation with the national sports leagues – including the NBA – which is still ongoing
Silver writes that for more than two decades, the National Basketball Association has opposed the expansion of legal sports betting, as have the other major professional sports leagues in the United States, but that the time has come for a different approach.
Despite legal restrictions, sports betting is widespread, he observes, adding that It is a thriving underground business that operates free from regulation or oversight.
"Because there are few legal options available, those who wish to bet resort to illicit bookmaking operations and shady offshore websites. There is no solid data on the volume of illegal sports betting activity in the United States, but some estimate that nearly $400 billion is illegally wagered on sports each year," Silver writes.
"Times have changed since PASPA was enacted. Gambling has increasingly become a popular and accepted form of entertainment in the United States. Most states offer lotteries. Over half of them have legal casinos. Three have approved some form of Internet gambling, with others poised to follow.
"There is an obvious appetite among sports fans for a safe and legal way to wager on professional sporting events.
"Mainstream media outlets regularly publish sports betting lines and point spreads. Voters in New Jersey overwhelmingly voiced their support for legal sports betting in a 2011 referendum. Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey recently signed a bill authorizing sports betting at local casinos and horse racetracks.
"Outside of the United States, sports betting and other forms of gambling are popular, widely legal and subject to regulation. In England, for example, a sports bet can be placed on a smartphone, at a stadium kiosk or even using a television remote control.
"Let me be clear: Any new approach must ensure the integrity of the game. One of my most important responsibilities as commissioner of the N.B.A. is to protect the integrity of professional basketball and preserve public confidence in the league and our sport. I oppose any course of action that would compromise these objectives.
"But I believe that sports betting should be brought out of the underground and into the sunlight where it can be appropriately monitored and regulated."