NBA commissioner Adam Silver spoke to ESPN about why he supports the legalization of sports betting and what he believes is the best approach for the league to take.
Silver is the only American sports commissioner to publicly support legalized sports betting, which he said comes out of the way he looks at the issue.
"I view myself more as pro transparency," Silver said. "And someone who's a realist in the business. The best way for the league to monitor our integrity is for that betting action to move toward legal betting organizations, where it can be tracked. That's the pragmatic approach."
Despite the NBA's historical stance on gambling, Silver argued in a November New York Times op-ed that it should be legalized in the U.S. under strict regulations and called for a more national approach. In September, he told an audience at a sports business conference that he believes expanded legalized sports betting is "inevitable" because some states need the revenue, according to ESPN.
In October, New Jersey governor Chris Christie signed a law removing prohibitions against sports wagering in New Jersey, a move that was opposed by the four major U.S. sports leagues, including the NBA, and the NCAA. A month later, U.S. district judge Michael Shipp issued an injunction against the effort, preventing the state from implementing the law.
Silver has asked Christie to work with the NBA on expanding sports betting, suggesting that Christie turn his attention to Congress and come up with a framework that would allow states to opt in to legalizing sports gambling.
- Molly Geary