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David Stern Says NBA May Support Legal Sports Betting

NBA Commissioner David Stern said in an interview that legal sports betting would not increase danger to game results and could open new revenue streams.

Bare months after joining the NFL and other sports leagues in hounding Delaware out of its attempt to conduct regulated sports betting, NBA Commissioner David Stern admits the gambling issues raised by opponents are outdated, and suggests the NBA may soon look to revenue from legalized sports wagering.

In an interview with Ian Thomsen of SI.com, Stern says that the anti-gambling stance of sports leagues comes from a different time, when legal gambling was confined to Nevada and such accepted gaming as state lotteries and casinos in Atlantic City were hot-topic issues. The NBA head acknowledges the attitudes of US residents have changed.

"I think that that league policy was formulated at a time when gambling was far less widespread -- even legally," Stern told Thomsen. "But having said that, it's now a matter of national policy: gambling is good."

Stern further threw the disingenuous position of the NFL under the bus, shrugging aside the notion that legal sports betting would somehow create greater temptation and possibility of corruption in game results.

""I think the threat is the same, legal and illegal," Stern stated about the influence of gambling rings. "Buried within that threat there may be a huge opportunity as well."

When asked if regulated sports gambling would not actually protect NBA games while producing new revenue for the league and federal and state governments, Stern allowed that the quick answer has always been in the negative, but that, disregarding inherited prejudices in answering, future NBA leaders will have to take a long look at changing that answer.

Published on December 11, 2009 by TomWeston

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