January 27, 2010

You can bet on that

by Dan Bilicki In: Basketball

It looks like starting next season, people in Ontario could actually be allowed to bet on professional basketball games — legally, that is. That’s right, next fall on Pro Line tickets across the province, anybody over the age of 18 can plunk down a few bucks to bet on some pro round-ball. Why couldn’t they do it before, you know, like right now? Well, you see there is some back story as to that.

When Toronto was awarded their franchise, commissioner David Stern was on a bit of a kick to try to break his sport away from the gambling scene, even though it was, you know a professional sport. The province of Ontario had a nice little gaming ticket running where you could parlay some bets together on pretty much any sporting event you wanted. NHL, NBA, NFL and even CFL games could all be strung together and wagered on a single ticket. That was too risque for Stern though, so he decided that if Toronto wanted a team, they would have to cut the NBA off the tickets and instead donate some money to help out the beneficiaries of the Pro Line tickets. All was peaceful in that truce, apparently until now.

Now, how does it make sense for the league to allow such gambling, even if conducted through a lottery commission run by the Ontario government, at this point of the NBA’s existence? Did they not just go through one of the biggest sports betting scandals ever, with a referee actively betting on and possibly fixing games? That’s what I want to know.

Oh yeah, what else happened in 1994, around the same time that Stern was on his anti-gambling kick? That’s right, Michael Jordan was off playing baseball. Coincidence? Sure, if you want to believe that the most competitive person in the league was willing to just hang up his sneakers near his peak.

2 Comments

  1. Wonderful to read!

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