Silver Looks to Bring Gambling "Out of the Underground"

Published on November 15th, 2014 7:16 pm EST

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NBA Logo next to a Dollar sign - Monetizing the National Basketball AssociationThe four major professional sports leagues (NFL, NBA, NHL and MLB) have long argued against allowing expanded gambling on sports in the United States. The former commissioner of the NBA, David Stern, was quite fervent in his belief that sports gambling should be contained to the state of Nevada.

Stern's replacement, Adam Silver, believes that the country SHOULD allow gambling on games involving professionals. Silver, in an op-ed in the New York Times, said that sports betting "should be brought out of the underground and into the sunlight where it can be appropriately monitored and regulated".

Silver's argument can be boiled down to this:

-"underground" sports betting is a massive industry
-sports betting should be monitored and regulated

In countries such as the United Kingdom, sports betting is legal, regulated and widespread. If I attend a match between Liverpool and Chelsea, I can pull out my smart phone and place a bet at halftime. Sports betting is everywhere in the country and is fully taxed and regulated.

In the United States, however, things are different. A person living in Oregon can not legally place a wager on a sporting event unless they drive down to Las Vegas. Adam Silver believes that this should change. Instead of this Oregonian logging in to an offshore site to place his bet, Silver believes that he should be able to log in to a regulated and legal site in the United States.

Silva believes that regulation and appropriate monitoring would allow sites to: block underage gamblers, block prohibited/self-excluded gamblers, monitor unusual line movements, etc. Sites in the United Kingdom, for instance, already do all of these things.

There would be a substantial backlash if the idea of regulated and legalized sports betting gained traction in the United States. The reality, though, is that people are going to bet anyways. Why not have them do it at a regulated and legal site rather than with a bookie or offshore site?

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The dirty little secret that all of the professional sports leagues in North America are more than aware of is that people who bet on sports consume much more television programming on a weekly basis than those that don't. Adam Silver is the first commissioner who is smart enough to realize that legalized sports betting in the United States would dramatically increase the amount of television programming that is consumed by fans.

Source: NYTimes.com - Legalize and Regulate Sports Betting

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