Casino Watch Focus has reported many times on the dealings of the NBA in gambling scenarios and virtually every single report centers around an NBA ideology that is apposed to gambling on its sport. They know all too well with gambling scandals such as NBA referee Tim Donaghy, the dangers of gambling and how it can affect the reputation of a league. However, the NBA’s new commissioner, Adam Silver, has promoted gambling as a way to increase the interest in the NBA. Professor John Kindt discuss the issue at length:
My take on [Silver’s stance} is that it’s equivalent to opening Pandora’s box.
It’s especially disheartening, because we should be pushing professional sports more in the direction of protecting the integrity of the game, not toward encouraging people to commit a federal crime, which is what gambling on sports is.
With a few notable exceptions – Las Vegas and a couple of other jurisdictions, among them – gambling on sports is 100 percent illegal. Congress has also repeatedly tried to close the so-called “Las Vegas Loophole.” One example that comes to mind is the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992. But as long as Nevada Sen. Harry Reid controls the Senate’s Democratic majority, it’s very likely that the loophole will remain open.
The bottom line is, professional sports leagues need to recognize that it’s not only an issue of protecting the integrity of the sport itself, but also of protecting future fans of the sport. Sports gambling is particularly attractive to young people, who are more apt to think they’re bulletproof and then take risks.
So we should be very concerned about the NBA’s reversal and this new message the league is sending to young people.
Professor Kindt continued his analysis by looking at the impact gambling in today’s smart phone and Internet driven era would have on young people:
The U.S. National Gambling Impact Study Commission enacted by Congress in 1999 concluded that it was a national imperative to maintain a complete ban on gambling via the Internet.
If gambling on the Internet – whether it’s through a desktop computer, tablet or smartphone – is the “crack cocaine” of gambling, according to the commission’s study, I would argue that sports gambling is the gateway drug.
The younger generation – that is, the generation that has grown up with the Internet and can’t remember a world without it – is showing nearly double the gambling addiction rate of the next oldest generation. And certain demographic groups within that youth cohort are showing even higher rates of gambling addiction, which is increasing at an alarming rate, according to the medical and psychiatric communities.
If you combine gambling, sports and smartphones, well, that leads sports enthusiasts down what can be a very dangerous path. In some aspects, that is what’s happening with fantasy sports, which is sold to people under the guise of fun and games. Really, it’s just getting people used to the idea of taking risks in the context of professional sports.
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