NBA Chief Silver Furthers Advocacy of Legalized Sports Betting by Talking to Other Pro League Leaders

In an interview conducted by ESPN.com writer David Purdum, regarding NBA Commissioner Adam Silver’s publicly declared support for the legalization of sports betting activities on a federal level, the NBA Chief disclosed he has taken further steps by discussing the issue with the Commissioners of other professional sports leagues. Mr. Silver said he has held talks with the other Commissioners, voicing certainty that all were interested to gain a better understanding of the legalization issue.

According to the NBA Chief, he knows for sure that the other sports league Commissioners have assigned people at their end to study the matter thoroughly. ESPN reports that in addition to the conversations with the pro league chiefs, Mr. Silver is actively pursuing means to advance his cause, including the holding of private meetings with league counsels in order to discuss the advantages and disadvantages.

The head of the NBA said that he leaves it to the other league Commissioners to make their own declarations. However, the actions taken and comments given by the other professional sports organizations apparently do not jive with the positive outlook conveyed by the NBA Commissioner. According to Purdum, the National Football League (NFL) remains adamant by declaring the league’s continuing opposition to regulated sports betting.

The National Hockey League (NHL) on the other hand, did not respond to ESPN’s numerous requests for comment regarding the discussions held with Mr. Silver. Seemingly consistent with Commissioner Bettman’s previous pronouncements in a separate CNN interview, in which he conveyed the need to consider how the young generation will perceive sports, whether as a team-oriented competition or as a vehicle for gambling. He added that sports betting could possibly alter the atmosphere in the sports stadiums and arenas.

However, ESPN reports that sources, privy to the discussions during the meeting between the league Commissioners, gathered the impression that NHL is open to the legalization issue. The Major League Baseball (MLB), which currently is in a transition stage for having a new Commissioner in the person of Rob Manfred, had responded negatively to ESPN’s requests for comment. 

Still, hope springs eternal for Commissioner Silver even if he does not have the support of the other leagues at the moment, because he is backed by the NBA owners; some of whom are also owners in the other sports leagues.  Mr. Silvers believes that those sports club owners will eventually have a talk with the other league Commissioners about the sports wagering issue. He believes that the NBA owners are comfortable with the fact that they are taking the lead, albeit mindful that the issue requires legislative actions.

When asked about New Jersey’s ongoing legal battles against the different pro-sports leagues including the NBA, the NBA Commissioner explained that in his personal viewpoint, he advocates legalization on a federal level. Mr. Silver said that his greater concern is that having a mixture of different regulatory policies governing legalized sports betting in the country would only make it more difficult to keep track of the betting activities on their respective sport.

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