NBA Commissioner, Adam Silver, emphasizes the need to educate young people about sports betting.

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Posted on: July 11, 2023, 10:14h. 

Last updated on: July 11, 2023, 10:24h.

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver visited Las Vegas this week for the Associated Press Sports Editors (APSE) convention at the Flamingo Hotel & Casino on the Strip.

NBA Adam Silver sports betting
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver at the 2023 NBA Draft on June 22. Silver has been a sports betting advocate for many years, but believes leagues should do more to educate players and fans about participating. (Image: AP)

While in Sin City, Silver discussed his belief that pro sports leagues have a responsibility to educate younger people about the possible dangers of participating in sports betting. Chatting with moderator Kendra Andrews from ESPN, Silver was asked about a myriad of topics, including the possibility of the NBA expanding the league to Southern Nevada.

But his most poignant comments came in response to the enduring evolution of legal sports betting in the US. Today, more than 30 states have legal, regulated sports betting.

Silver, a longtime proponent of legalizing sports betting, said the NBA and other “big four,” the NFL, MLB, and NHL, should focus more on educating the nation’s youth about sports gambling.

I think there’s a responsibility for these leagues to invest in more education, not just for our own players but for young people,” Silver said.

The NBA chief executive expressed concerns about problematic betting rates among college students. That’s a notion shared by the public, as a recent poll conducted by Deloitte found that almost 60% of non-bettors in the US believe the perpetual expansion and incessant advertising for sports betting could have consequential long-term effects.

Sports Betting Pioneer

For many decades, the NFL, NBA, MLB, and NHL strongly opposed efforts to end the federal prohibition on sports betting that had limited single-game wagering to Nevada. But that sturdy stance began easing after Silver succeeded David Stern in 2014.

Writing that year in a New York Times op-ed, Silver opined that legalizing sports betting and bringing such gambling into a regulated environment would benefit the leagues, bettors, and state governments.

“I believe that sports betting should be brought out of the underground and into the sunlight where it can be appropriately monitored,” Stern wrote. The remarks were the first time a big four commissioner expressed support for legal sports betting.

People want to bet throughout the game. It results in enormous engagement with the fans,” Silver added.

But Silver this week said such increased engagement must be closely monitored to assure game integrity. Silver explained that the betting industry has developed numerous safeguards that have been implemented to detect suspicious wagering.

“There are very sophisticated algorithms that track it. When they see aberrational betting, you’re going to get caught,” Silver stated.

Expansion Considerations

Silver also weighed in on the odds of Las Vegas getting an NBA team. The hoops commissioner said the league will pivot its focus to expansion after its media rights negotiations are completed.

“We will turn to expansion once those media deals are done,” Silver explained. “It’s not a sure thing. But as I’ve said before, I think it’s natural that organizations grow over time. There’s no doubt that there’s enormous interest in this [Las Vegas] market.”

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