The National Basketball Association was one of the several major US sports leagues to join the NFL in claiming that Delaware's plan to accept single-game sports betting would lead to potential corruption of the game. But allowing team owners to operate sports books and casinos seems to be not an issue for the league.
Dan Gilbert of the Cleveland Cavaliers stands to be the latest NBA owner to be the owner of a casino, if an Ohio ballot measure passes. After testimony by disgraced former NBA referee Tim Donaghy that gambling debts led to his involvement with criminal figures, it is surprising that the NBA is so quick to embrace gambling.
Perhaps the difference is in the money, and who gets it. OCA sports gaming analyst Ed Crumley says owners getting rich off casinos is in the NBA's interest, while the league makes no money off the neighborhood guy placing a sports bet.
The Maloof brothers own both the Palms Casino and the Sacramento Kings, running a sports book that takes NBA bets as a matter of course. Even without betting on Kings games, Crumley says, the Maloofs certainly are privy to information not available to the general public.
Harrah's Entertainment CEO and President Gary Loveman owns a piece of the Boston Celtics. The threat of gaming operators owning the sports books accepting wagers on the teams they control is dealt with by the NBA refusing Loveman the right to take Celtic plays; Harrah's accepts bets on the rest of the NBA.
"Obviously, the NBA does not really believe in the dangers of close ties to sports betting," says Crumley. "Instead, their actions indicate a decision to deny fans the pleasure of sports gambling just because there's nothing in it for them."
Published on September 19, 2009 by MattMiller
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