The NBA is ready to go all-in on legalized gambling.
ESPN reported Wednesday that the NBA has “formally requested” a set of guidelines by which it would abide gambling on its games, the latest in a series of signals that the league has warmed to the idea of sports betting. The NBA’s proposal stipulates that it receive a 1 percent cut on any bets that are made on its games, which “could create massive revenue” for the league, ESPN explains.
For many years, the NBA was adamantly opposed to legalizing sports betting, particularly after dealing with the fallout of a 2007 scandal perpetuated by a referee who was betting on games he officiated. But under the leadership of commissioner Adam Silver, the league has increasingly entertained the idea, and on Wednesday a league attorney stated a desire for legal betting services at smartphones and kiosks, which ESPN explains “would increase the amount of wagering and, in turn, create more revenue for the league.” Silver himself has expressed his support for in-game betting, which he said “results in enormous additional engagement with the fans.”
Critics of sports betting have long claimed that its legalization could corrupt sports leagues and lead to cheating and fixing of games. The Supreme Court is expected to rule on a case to legalize sports betting in New Jersey at some point this year — a decision that ESPN explains “could clear the way for individual states to legalize sports betting at casinos and racetracks.”
Under current federal law, sports gambling is only legal in Nevada. Read more at ESPN.