Adam Silver Talks Legalizing Sports Betting With Roger Goodell

In an interview with ESPN the Magazine, Adam opens up on reaching out to other commissioners of the MLB, NHL, NCAA and NFL’s Roger Goodell. Silver remains committed to getting legislative and political barriers cleared to have a national bill passed

I have talked to the commissioners in the other leagues about legalizing sports betting. I leave it to them to make any public statements they want to make on it. I will say that certainly all of them are interested in having a better understanding of the issue, and I know have assigned people in their organizations to study intensively the issue as well. While I wouldn’t categorize daily fantasy as sports betting, on the continuum of no betting at all and legalized betting, it’s certainly somewhere on the spectrum, but not yet sports betting. Some of our owners are also owners in other leagues, so it’s something that they also want to talk to the commissioners in the other leagues about.

I think most of our owners’ view on the issue is that they’re comfortable with us taking a leadership position on the issue, but again are also mindful that it’s a complex issue, and is one that will ultimately require a legislative remedy, and not one that is necessarily at the top of their to-do list, in terms of active lobbying. It’s my personal view that there should be federal legislation on this issue, in part to avoid what is happening now. My greatest concern is that there will be in essence a hodgepodge of regulations controlling sports betting that will vary from state to state, jurisdiction to jurisdiction and will make it increasingly difficult to monitor betting on our very own sport.

We’re not ready to take a position on which model is right. We do know that the more information that is centrally aggregated, the better chance we’ll have of spotting irregular activity on our sport. And that is happening now in the state of Nevada; so we have relationships with the betting companies in Las Vegas, so that we are notified if there’s any irregular activity. But we’re also aware that that’s a minuscule percentage of the overall betting on our sport.

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