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NBA Wants Congress To OK Sports Betting

Adam Silver Says He Would Work With Chris Christie

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NBA commisioner Adam Silver wants to join Chris Christie in the latter’s crusade for U.S. sports betting expansion—well, sort of.

Christie has been fighting hard for quite a long time to see Atlantic City casinos offer sports betting like the ones in Las Vegas do. Silver, who has slowly been warming up to the idea of embracing regulated sports betting because it will happen in a black market otherwise no matter what anyone tries to do, came out recently and said that he would work with Christie to make the activity OK on the federal level.

Currently, the NBA, along with the other leagues, are fighting New Jersey in court.

Three states in the country were grandfathered into sports betting. Only Nevada has full-scale sports betting. Delaware has a limited industry.

Silver’s comments are certainly important, but even though Christie is challenging a federal law to get sports books in Atlantic City, it remains to be seen whether he would push for Congress to pass a reform pertaining to sports betting. Christie is a governor, not a U.S. Senator.

“Governor Christie, and I’m happy to join him, should turn his attention to Washington, DC, to Congress, and say, ‘Here are all the reasons it should be regulated, but let’s come up with a framework that makes sense on a national basis presumably that would allow states to opt in,’ ” Silver told ESPN’s Andy Katz.

“Whether it’s ESPN with ‘Bracketology,’ whether it’s all the [betting] lines in every national newspaper, on every Web service, my point was there’s massive, massive sports betting going on in this country,” Silver added. “Estimates are that it’s up to $400 billion a year. And my view is, if it’s going to go on, let’s make it transparent, let’s bring it into the sunlight, so to speak, and let’s regulate it, the same way we do a lot of other industries."

The last time Congress acted on sports betting was more than two decades ago.