NEW YORK—Envision going to a Bulls game and betting on Joakim Noah making a free throw … on your phone.
Can’t see it happening?
Well, it’s going to become a reality sooner than you think.
That’s the concept NBA commissioner Adam Silver laid out to a group of Associated Press Sports Editors at NBA offices on Thursday.
Silver wants to tap into a “$400 billion market of illegal and legal gambling.”
While most other league commissioners go out of their way to avoid mentioning the G-word, Silver is unabashedly giddy when speaking of it.
“As opposed to pretending it’s not happening, we should deal with it in a constructive manner,” Silver said. “Part of my job is to protect the integrity of the game. Well, the best way to protect it is to bring this into the sunlight and monitor it.”
Silver, who speaks globally on almost everything, compared it to European soccer league models that he had scouted.
“In other European soccer jurisdictions, there are aberrations in betting lines and behavior,” Silver said. “So, investigate and respond.
“I feel we’re going to be taken there eventually no matter what anybody’s policy is. The fans really are controlling this sport and most sports. It’s a marketplace, and what the marketplace is telling us it that fans want to engage in wagering. Despite government restrictions against it, they will continue to wager. Because of accessibility through the internet, it has become that much easier. If they’re going to do it, we might as well join with them.”
Silver has investigated so far as to note that most of gambling has moved from pre-game to in-game.
“They estimate now that 80 percent of the gambling is in-play now,” he said. “A lot of it looks like what people here call ‘propositions bets.’ What I would imagine if it became legal in America, you would see fans betting on whatever device they’re carrying.”