Adam Silver, commissioner of North America’s National Basketball Association (NBA) league, has predicted that struggling state budgets and a wider acceptance of gambling by US citizens will lead to legalised sports betting across the country.
Speaking at the Bloomberg Sport Business Summit, Silver said that the NBA does not have any moral issues with gambling on games and is not against such moves.
In response to Silver’s comments, Bloomberg said that the NBA would make substantial amounts of money from sports betting if it becomes legalised in more jurisdictions across the country.
Nevada is currently the only state in the US to offer a legalised sports betting service to fans.
“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,” Silver said, according to the International Business Times.
“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.
“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.”
The NBA and its teams already have a number of marketing deals in place with various gambling operators.
Earlier this year, NBA franchise the Philadelphia 76ers became one of the first US professional sports teams to enter into a commercial deal with an online gambling company when it agreed a partnership with bwin.party.