The Supreme Court will hear oral arguments for Christie v. NCAA on Monday, better known as the sports betting legalization case. Gambling, particularly on sports, was once taboo, but has now become part of the sports fan’s lexicon and a ubiquitous presence around sports coverage.
A look at nearly any scoreboard app will provide you with the point spread and total for a game, alerting fans to who the Vegas (or offshore) favorite is (and whether it’s expected to be a high-scoring affair). Turn on most any pregame show and the same information will make its way onto graphics, with some openly embracing it with picks against the spread — Scott Van Pelt’s SportsCenter prominently features a “Winners” segment, handing out college football picks ATS each week).
Sports media has to react to what information fans want, and with an estimated $190 billion wagered illegally on sports last year, the people want to know about line movements and where the edges are to find the best bets. Sports leagues will be the last group to follow suit and give the fans what they want, but they might be forced to sooner than later, depending on the Supreme Court’s ruling. The NFL remains vehemently against sports betting, while Major League Baseball can see the writing on the wall.
However, there’s no league that’s more understanding of the shift happening and the inevitability of sports betting legalization, either through this case or another, than the NBA. The NBA is, like the NFL, MLB and NCAA, a plaintiff in the case against Chris Christie, but commissioner Adam Silver isn’t against the idea of sports betting being legalized, he just wants more federal regulation than this case would provide and for sports leagues to land a piece of the action themselves.
In any case, Silver and the NBA have already taken steps to prepare for the potential ruling in favor of Christie, as detailed by ESPN’s Brian Windhorst. Windhorst explained how recent moves made by the league help position themselves to capitalize on the sports betting boom that could be coming very soon. The obvious is the NBA’s investment in FanDuel, which could see a significant bump and expansion should sports wagering become legal (first in New Jersey and then in subsequent states shortly after).
The NBA Has Been Making Behind The Scenes Moves For The Legalization Of Sports Gambling
Uproxx | Dec 4