NBA Commissioner Adam Silver throws Support behind Sports Betting

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Ever since the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992, it seems like sports betting and pro sports don’t mix in the United States. However, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver offers a surprise take on the matter.

Writing through a New York Times op-ed, Silver explains how he thinks that frowning on sports betting has created a large underground environment. And he believes it would actually be better if states could provide a safe, regulated environment for people to bet on sports. Here’s one excerpt from Silver’s column:

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.

Silver’s take comes at a critical time when U.S. District Court Judge Michael Shipp is about to decide on whether or not sports betting should be allowed at New Jersey’s Monmouth Park. The MLB, NFL and NHL have been staunch opponents of sports betting being in the same markets as professional sports teams. The idea is that they don’t want their games being tainted by any point shaving scandals. That’s why it is so interesting that Silver is taking a different approach to the matter.

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