NBA Deputy Commissioner Mark Tatum disclosed that the league is actively exploring both the “opportunities and threats” that accompany widespread legalized sports betting.
Tatum said that the pro basketball league has been proactively educating its players, teams and staff on the fast-changing landscape, while looking to the English Premier League for guidance on maximizing gambling-related revenues.
The league has taken a cautious approach to legalized sports betting thus far, announcing just data partnerships and basic sponsorship pacts.
English soccer offers a preview of the “opportunities” that NBA teams will see as the league further embraces sports betting.
9 of 20 EPL clubs and 17 of 24 EFL Championship League teams have gaming companies as their main kit sponsor, “betting companies are the one of the EPL’s largest sponsorship categories” and you’ll find betting booths in stadiums across the country.
When Tatum talks about “threats”, he’s referring to match-fixing, tipping, point shaving or any other means of improperly influencing or manipulating the outcome of a game.
One might not think that an NBA player could/would be susceptible to corruption – with the league min. $838K this season – but it’s not impossible for something to happen.
As Sportradar, Head of Legal and Regulatory Affairs, Jake Williams told me, we see players with drug problems or with gambling debts, even highly paid players – getting hundreds of thousands of euros per week in soccer – with issues in their lives that could cause brand and reputational concerns for the player, the team and the league.