NBA Commissioner supports sports betting

Adam Silver, Commissioner of the NBA, is the first sports executive to stop denying the reality of sports betting: that it currently operates in a gray zone, free of regulation, consumer protections, and financial transparency.

For more than two decades, the National Basketball Association has opposed the expansion of legal sports betting, as have the other major professional sports leagues in the United States. In 1992, the leagues supported the passage by Congress of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, or Paspa, which generally prohibits states from authorizing sports betting.

But despite legal restrictions, sports betting is widespread. It is a thriving underground business that operates free from regulation or oversight. Because there are few legal options available, those who wish to bet resort to illicit bookmaking operations and shady offshore websites. There is no solid data on the volume of illegal sports betting activity in the United States, but some estimate that nearly $400 billion is illegally wagered on sports each year.

While gambling exposes citizens to a lot of challenges, these problems already exist in a sort of black market that only makes such problems more difficult to resolve. Good for Commissioner Silver for speaking the truth.


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