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The NBA is making a risky bet with gambling

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As much as I am enthralled by the NBA playoffs, I am also worried by the growing prominence of betting in professional basketball. Wagering on the sport is becoming more important than the sport itself and to the detriment of the competition.

I don’t think sports betting should be illegal, as I believe consenting adults should be free to engage in capitalist acts — and besides, black-market betting would occur anyway. But increasingly betting is an integral part of the NBA fan experience, in much the same way it is the main reason people go to the racetrack.

The Capital One Arena, home of the Washington Wizards, is the first professional U.S. sports arena to create a betting parlor right inside. The ESPN web site is unabashed in discussing betting odds on the games, and on TNT, playoff-game halftime reports now consider betting odds as well.

The backdrop is that in 2018 the Supreme Court struck down federal restrictions on sports betting, clearing the way for states to allow the practice. State laws vary, and even when sports betting is legal, it may be restricted to casinos or to mobile devices. But the trend is to allow more betting, not less.

One worry is that open betting will increase the incentives for corruption. In professional tennis, for instance, Europol has........

© The Japan Times

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