NBA commissioner Adam Silver hasn't even been on the job for a year, yet he's already changed the culture of professional sports when he kicked former Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling out of the league. Now, he's trying to do it again.
Silver wrote an opinion piece for the New York Times, advocating for legalizing sports betting in the United States.
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.
However, Silver stressed the need for regulating it:
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.
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.
Sports gambling had been a touchy subject for the NBA following the scandal where disgraced referee Tim Donaghy was imprisoned for betting on and fixing games he officiated.
Silver addressed that in the piece, expressing that measures must be taken to "ensure the integrity of the game".
To read the piece in its entirety, click here.
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