ESPN2 sports commentator Keith Obermann raised some important points regarding the timing, suggesting that Silver’s desire to permit betting on the NBA comes at a time when the National Basketball Association just signed a massive sponsorship deal with daily fantasy sports site FanDuel.com.
Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban agreed that Silver’s stance likely has everything to do with the fantasy sports deal, adding that he fully supports the idea of wagering on NBA games.
National Hockey League Commissioner Gary Bettman does not share Silver’s views despite his league entering into its own partnership deal with fantasy site Draftkings.com.
“I think it could, do you want people at football and basketball games rooting for the spread or rooting for their favorite team?”
Alex Reimer, Columnist for the Boston Herald, writes:
The NBA and the other three major professional leagues have fought to stop the spread of legalized sports gambling since the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act was passed in 1992. PASPA prohibits sports betting in every state except Nevada, Delaware, Montana and Oregon.
But that law has been a losing battle for the same reason true-blue Massachusetts voters refused to repeal the casino law. It’s also why Massachusetts and New York are ready to roll out billion-dollar gaming palaces even though New Jersey casinos have been going belly up.
Americans love to gamble, so it’s hardly surprising that Silver has halted the NBA’s futile crusade against sports betting. Almost every 20-something is in a fantasy league.
The Guardian’s Hunter Felt suggested Silver may have a more grandiose scheme up his sleeve:
After the players’ chief attacked the salary cap, the commissioner’s Times op-ed was perfectly pitched to boost the riches at his command.
The main reason Silver wrote his editorial should be obvious: legalized gambling would benefit the NBA. More money on games means more interest in games. More people watching, bigger television ratings, etc. All of which means more money for the NBA.
National Public Radio provided cases both for and against allowing legalized betting on sports events with special guest Mike Pesca of Slate.com:
"If anyone wants to gamble, they could gamble. Have you looked around? And this is sort of undergirding Silver's argument that it would be naive to think that, in this modern world, that the actual league stances against gambling are having any effect or any good effect.
"You know, he's essentially saying, great, so now we've driven gambling underground. So now, whatever, the mafia controls it or criminal elements control it. And also we, meaning the leagues, by implication, but also he argues for the public's sake, you, the tax beneficiaries, aren't getting anything. We should just admit what's going on and try to make the best of this situation."