Pro basketball Bets are (Legally) Back on in Ontario
David Stern was at the helm of some pretty polarizing developments during his time as NBA Commissioner. There was the dress code, the ban on players entering the league out of high school, and of course, the infamous Chris Paul trade veto. But when it comes one of his more under-the-radar controversial calls, things are about to change.
When Toronto was trying to land a franchise in the early 90’s, Stern and the NBA were taking a hard stance against gambling and made it conditional that the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation would have to remove the NBA from its PRO-LINE betting if the city was to be awarded a team. Even though then-premiere Bob Rae put up a fight on the issue, he was ultimately unsuccessful at getting it on there.
Occasional rumblings would sometimes surface about a change to the policy, but none could be taken as accurate until this week, when the OLG announced that NBA games would now finally be offered as a gambling option. “OLG is thrilled to add the NBA to PRO-LINE for our customers. With the addition of the NBA, Ontario sports fans will now have even more choices for a better gaming experience,” reads an official statement released Friday from OLG’s Chief Operating Officer Greg McKenzie.
This policy reversal is just one example of how current Commissioner Adam Silver differs from his predecessor. Silver, a former lawyer, argued in a 2014 New York Times op-ed piece that sports gambling should be legalized—and tightly regulated—on a widespread scale.
So now, riding the wave of the most successful and popular season in Canadian basketball history, the OLG will be able to reap the profits of NBA betting. Plus, a big chunk of its revenue goes towards subsidizing other government programs, which will surely get a boost from this development. Bob Rae is smiling somewhere right now—you can bet on it.