Adam Silver has written an op-ed in the New York Times in favor of legalization and regulation of sports betting in the United States.
"Betting on professional sports is currently illegal in most of the United States outside of Nevada. I believe we need a different approach," writes Silver.
"For more than two decades, the National Basketball Association has opposed the expansion of legal sports betting, as have the other major professional sports leagues in the United States. In 1992, the leagues supported the passage by Congress of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, or Paspa, which generally prohibits states from authorizing sports betting.
"But despite legal restrictions, sports betting is widespread. It is a thriving underground business that operates free from regulation or oversight. Because there are few legal options available, those who wish to bet resort to illicit bookmaking operations and shady offshore websites. There is no solid data on the volume of illegal sports betting activity in the United States, but some estimate that nearly $400 billion is illegally wagered on sports each year."
This position from Silver represents a willingness to think outside its long-held positions. The NBA reached agreement on a deal with FanDuel this week, which is a daily sports fantasy site.
"Let me be clear: Any new approach must ensure the integrity of the game," continued Silver at the end of the piece. "One of my most important responsibilities as commissioner of the N.B.A. is to protect the integrity of professional basketball and preserve public confidence in the league and our sport. I oppose any course of action that would compromise these objectives.
"But I believe that sports betting should be brought out of the underground and into the sunlight where it can be appropriately monitored and regulated."