David Stern Backs Adam Silver on Legalized Gambling

David Stern and Adam Silver Photo by Kathy Willens
Kathy Willens AP

“Bring the sports leagues in,” former NBA commissioner David Stern told CNBC on Wednesday.

Stern’s comments on legalized gambling follow his protégé Adam Silver’s November op-ed piece urging professional athletic leagues to rethink their hostility to sports betting.

Stern’s CNBC exclusive echoes the behind-closed-doors sentiment of NBA owners that if lawmakers were to legalize and license sports betting on professional basketball, then the NBA could recoup a revenue stream from that currently goes to illegal bookmakers.

One league source described this potential revenue stream to Breitbart Sports on Wednesday as a “trillion dollar industry.”

“If it’s going to happen, because it has happened anyway by Justice Department rulings and the like, you should make it legal and you should regulate it as tightly as you possibly can,” Stern told CNBC.

In 2007, under Stern’s watch, NBA referee Tim Donaghy pled guilty to federal charges after he wagered on games and allegations arose of wild point-spread shifts in contests in which he officiated.

Just a few years removed from one of the biggest scandals in its history, the NBA now seeks to draw near to what it so recently fled.

“Once ‘daily fantasy’ became an acceptable exception to the law against gambling, I think that’s gambling, so now I think the best approach would be, as Adam Silver has advocated, is for there to be federal regulation,” Stern stated in the CNBC interview.

While Stern cites fantasy sports in the CNBC segment, an NBA team source informed Breitbart Sports that in the eyes of some league owners the expansion of fantasy sports into glorified prop bets on shots attempted throughout contests will pay huge dividends to the NBA through licensed gambling apps linked to the official league website.

In the UK, Fantasy Soccer is advertised on the main page of the English Premier League’s official website.  Since the 1960s betting shops throughout the UK have also served as outlets for gamblers to wager legally on soccer matches.

In spite of legalization and tight “regulation and oversight,”  the two imperatives sought by both Silver and Stern in legalizing sports gambling, scandals as shameful as the one Donaghy orchestrated as an NBA official continue to sully the integrity of professional soccer in the United Kingdom.

Moreover, a 2013 Europol investigation concluded that 680 soccer matches were fixed, including ones in the prestigious Champions League in England. And noted in Thursday’s Daily Record, Scottish power broker and alleged degenerate gambler Paul MacKenzie was recently rejected in a not-so- covert operation to purchase Glasgow Ranger of the Scottish Premiere League.

“Talk about mixed messages, five years ago the league put all this money into telling us how bad gambling was,” the league source told Breitbart Sports on Wednesday.

Following the Tim Donaghy scandal David Stern worked passionately to restore the integrity of the NBA by assuring fans that gambling by a referee on games he officiated was simply an isolated incident. But less than a decade later, Stern, his successor, and league owners look to collect.


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