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NEWS 5 September 2014

NBA commissioner thinks US sports betting is inevitable

By Aaron McBride
NBA commissioner Adam Silver believes that legalised sports betting will soon grow across the US and that basketball is likely to profit from it.

Speaking at the Bloomberg Sports Business Summit in New York, Silver suggested that betting on professional sports is likely to expand out of Nevada due to the financial gains the states could make.

Silver, who took over the commissioner role from David Stern in February 2012, also cited how accessible mobile betting in the UK attracts more people to view sport due to their financial interests.

“It’s inevitable that, if all these states are broke, that there will be legalised sports betting in more states than Nevada and we will ultimately participate in that.

“If you have a gentleman’s bet or a small wager on any kind of sports contest, it makes you that much more engaged in it." said Silver, 52.

“That’s where we’re going to see it pay dividends. If people are watching a game and clicking to bet on their smartphones, which is what people are doing in the United Kingdom right now, then it’s much more likely you’re going to stay tuned for a long time.”

His views contradict the NBA's decision to back fellow professional sports in opposing New Jersey's 2012 bid to legalise gambling, which resulted in the throwing out a of law that would have permitted wagering at racetracks and Atlantic City casinos.

Silver's new reign at the top of the NBA and his latest views would seem to suggest he would be willing to listen to the idea of helping expand and legalise gambling in American sports.

More than $3.6bn was wagered on games at Nevada sportsbooks in 2013, money that could go a long way to ease the financial strain of many states in the US.

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