NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has already gone on record as a supporter of legalized gambling, even going so far as to say sports betting is “inevitable” as cash-strapped states look for ways to generate revenue. Although the NBA was opposed to recent legislation in New Jersey that would essentially “legalize” sports betting (or, rather, not enforce existing laws), Silver remains proponent of legalization. Today, Silver himself penned a New York Times op-ed to reaffirm his stance on sports betting:
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, a law the N.B.A. and other leagues have opposed — and a federal court has blocked — because it violates Paspa.
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.
In light of these domestic and global trends, the laws on sports betting should be changed. Congress should adopt a federal framework that allows states to authorize betting on professional sports, subject to strict regulatory requirements and technological safeguards.
These requirements would include: mandatory monitoring and reporting of unusual betting-line movements; a licensing protocol to ensure betting operators are legitimate; minimum-age verification measures; geo-blocking technology to ensure betting is available only where it is legal; mechanisms to identify and exclude people with gambling problems; and education about responsible gaming.
Silver went on to say that sports betting would need to be legalized at the federal level (essentially a repeal of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act — passed in 1992 — that banned sports betting outside of Nevada), and that the integrity of the game will always remain the highest priority.