NBA commissioner defends bold stance

May 26, 2016 10:07 AM

Legal, regulated sports betting is good for business and the integrity of the game, National Basketball Association Commissioner Adam Silver told ESPN.

The NBA boss first went public with this view more than a year ago and has not back-tracked since then. Top officials in some o the other professional sports leagues have begun to relax heir views on the subject but Silver continues to be the most outspoken.

“I used to run NBA Entertainment,” he told ESPN, “and we do a lot of business internationally where sports gambling is legal and because the NBA is well known outside the United States there’s a lot of legal betting on the NBA just like there is in Nevada. As I began to study the issue, I realized that there’s this enormous – measured in the hundreds of billions of dollars – underground betting market in the United States.”

He said the kind of open exchange that legal betting provides, allows officials to know where the money is going and to spot trends that might deserve special attention.

Silver compared  the illegal betting that involves billions of dollars to illegal insider trading in the stock market.  The betting that goes on now is all “underground... There’s no transparency to the league and you have no sense of what’s happening.”

Phil Hevener has been writing about the Nevada gaming business for more than 30 years. Email: [email protected]