Adam Silver, the NBA’s commissioner, has written an op-ed for The New York Times that points out the obvious: everyone gambles on sports, so it’s time to make it legal. It’s a bold move for a commissioner, but it’s the right one.
Silver explains that despite sports gambling being illegal outside of Nevada, it is a thriving business. “There is an obvious appetite among sports fans for a safe and legal way to wager on professional sporting events,” writes Silver. “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.”
The rookie commissioner adds that if betting on sports finally becomes legalized, there should be strict regulations. His suggestions 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.”
Most of these ideas are nice but difficult to implement. However, Silver had to include them to keep critics at bay.
A commissioner of one of the nation’s most popular sports calling for legalized sports gambling is big news. It’s not surprising though, that it came from Silver. He acted quickly and decisively when faced with the Donald Sterling incident. Here he is leading another charge. Don’t be surprised if this sports gambling’s tipping point.