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Gaming Guru

Steve Carp

NBA commissioner Silver supports legalized gambling

15 July 2015

Adam Silver isn‘t a gambler.

He‘s also not a hypocrite.

The NBA commissioner has taken a relatively unique stance regarding legalized gambling on his league in comparison to his fellow pro sports czars. He‘s in favor of it and isn‘t afraid to say so.

He‘s not even opposed to someone placing a bet on the Las Vegas NBA Summer League.

"We recognize that within this jurisdiction that sports betting is legal and it's monitored and we‘re perfectly OK with it," said Silver, who was in town for Tuesday‘s NBA Board of Governors summer meeting at Wynn Las Vegas.

Silver supports the idea of legalized sports betting as long as there‘s federal oversight. He‘s concerned that New Jersey, which is in a battle to legalize sports betting, would go its own way and not have the kind of regulatory mechanisms that Nevada has to ensure there‘s no breach of integrity.

"I have come out in favor of legalized sports betting, not just in Las Vegas but throughout the United States," Silver said. "We disagree with the approach of the state of New Jersey because we think we need to have federal law that makes the regulations for sports betting consistent throughout the United States instead of having a hodgepodge state by state of regulations.

"We think, No. 1, it will help protect the integrity of the league, which is something both Mayor Goodmans (Oscar and Carolyn) and I have talked about many times. Initially, when we were here for All-Star weekend (in 2007), we had a panel on sports betting in which Mayor (Oscar) Goodman made the point to our league owners and partners the only way to truly ensure the integrity of the sports is by having regulated sports betting that is transparent and monitored to help protect our sport.

"No. 2, whether or not we‘re directly involved in the business of sports betting, there's no doubt it leads to increased engagement by the fans. We know that if somebody has a responsible wager on the event, it makes them that much more engaged in the event, and we think that‘s an appropriate form of entertainment for our fans."

Silver‘s midsummer media session following the owners‘ meeting wasn‘t overflowing with news. The NBA probably will seed its teams 1 through 8 for the playoffs next year based on overall conference rankings rather than give division winners higher seeds. That process will take place in September.

He defended DeAndre Jordan‘s decision to renege on joining the Dallas Mavericks and remain with the Los Angeles Clippers, saying Jordan was within his rights as it pertains to the league‘s collective bargaining agreement.

And he said several teams are still losing money, and until that issue gets resolved, the league has no plans to expand. Which was bad news for local fans who are hoping to one day get a team of their own but probably will have to settle for the summer league, preseason games involving the Lakers and Clippers and USA Basketball‘s annual visit in August.

"I don‘t know the precise number, and I don‘t want to get into it, but a significant number of teams are continuing to lose money, and they continue to lose money because their expenses exceed their revenue," Silver said. "Even with revenue sharing and fairly robust revenue sharing when some teams are receiving over $20 million checks from their partners, that in order to compete across this league with a relatively harsh (luxury) tax, teams are spending enormous amounts of money on payroll and have enormous expenses in terms of arena costs and infrastructure."

No expansion means Las Vegas probably will have to settle for the NHL, which also doesn‘t see betting as a huge issue and is preparing to likely accept William Foley‘s $500 million check in September to bring major league pro sports to the city for the first time come 2017.

"We‘ve talked before that we‘re not ready to expand," Silver said. "However, gambling is not an impediment to Las Vegas being an NBA franchise in the future."