NBA Seeking 1 Percent of Every Bet Made on Games If Gambling Legalized

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistJanuary 24, 2018

LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 11:  NBA Commissioner Adam Silver speaks to the media prior to the 2018 NBA London Game at the 02 Arena on January 11, 2018 in London, England. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photo by David Dow/NBAE via Getty Images)
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The NBA would seek 1 percent of every legal bet made on its games in order to formally embrace sports betting, according to an attorney representing the league. 

ESPN's Brian Windhorst reported Wednesday that Dan Spillane testified on behalf of the NBA in front of a New York State Senate committee and said the league would be willing to build an official relationship with the betting industry.

The 1 percent fee on bets is one of multiple conditions the NBA is seeking. The league would also want betting to become more easily accessible for fans, with features such as smartphone capabilities or specially designated betting kiosks.

While commissioners from major American sports have historically shunned legalized gambling, NBA commissioner Adam Silver has been open about his willingness to embrace the practice. He wrote an op-ed for the New York Times in 2014 in which he advocated for the legalization of sports betting.

"In light of these domestic and global trends, the laws on sports betting should be changed," Silver said, citing sports betting’s popularity both among fans in the United States and throughout the world. "Congress should adopt a federal framework that allows states to authorize betting on professional sports, subject to strict regulatory requirements and technological safeguards."

Were the NBA to receive 1 percent of all bets made on NBA games, it would be a massive revenue source for the league. According to Windhorst, Nevada alone collected $4.5 billion on sports wagers in 2016, and that figure could climb higher than $5 billion in 2017 when the totals are calculated.

The state of New Jersey also has a case before the United States Supreme Court that could see sports betting legalized at its casinos and racetracks. Should New Jersey prevail, it will likely open the door for more states to pursue sports betting.

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