Outspoken NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has been trying to persuade other US sports to take a look at legalising sports betting in order to bring all the illegal betting that currently takes place in to a transparent and regulated environment.
Speaking with ESPN, Silver suggested that the other sports were willing to at least take a look at his idea. “I leave it to them to make any public statements they want to make on it. I will say that certainly all of them are interested in having a better understanding of the issue, and I know have assigned people in their organisations to study intensively the issue as well.”
Publicly at least most of the sports authorities are dead set against allowing betting on their sports and only recently joined forces in order to prevent New Jersey offering sports betting.
The only other commissioner to go public on the issue has been the NHL’s Gary Bettman who told CNN: “I think there needs some attention to be paid to what sport is going to represent to young people. Should it be viewed in the competitive team-oriented sense that it is now, or does it become a vehicle for betting, which may in effect change the atmosphere in the stadiums and in the arenas?”
However Silver said that federal legislation would be preferable to a piecemeal legalisation of sports betting, with New York, Indiana, South Carolina and Minnesota all taking New Jersey’s lead and discussing separate bills to legalise sports betting.
Silver told ESPN: “It’s my personal view that there should be federal legislation on this issue, in part to avoid what is happening now. My greatest concern is that there will be in essence a hodgepodge of regulations controlling sports betting that will vary from state to state, jurisdiction to jurisdiction and will make it increasingly difficult to monitor betting on our very own sport.”