NBA Players May Soon Be Allowed to Invest in Sports Betting Operations
The National Basketball Association has been discussing new rights for players under the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA). A new seven-year version of that deal between players and teams is expected to be announced within a few weeks.
Although nothing is official until the agreement is ratified by players, it has been widely reported that these updates will include new rules vis-a-vis gambling investments. NBA players would now be officially allowed to invest in, be sponsored by, and work with gambling companies, according to numerous reports.
The NBPA, or the National Basketball Players Association, who represent players in negotiations, released a statement on Saturday in which they said a “tentative agreement” had been reached. They added that “specific details will be made available once a term sheet is finalized.”
Level Playing Field
This new agreement will be music to the ears of some players. Several top stars have previously been rumored to have gambling investments ready to go when the rules might change.
The last update to the Collective Bargaining Agreement was in 2017, before the advent of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (PASPA), and the onset of legal sports betting across many US states.
Companies such as FanDuel, DraftKings, MGM, Bally and the Stars Group all have existing sponsorship deals with NBA teams. Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban is a big investor in national sportsbook DraftKings. The billionaire tycoon put his money into the company before sports betting legalization, when they were just a fantasy sports operator.
Opportunities and Misses
This latest rule change could open the door for players like Giannis Antetokounmpo. The Milwaukee Bucks two-time MVP winner registered trademarks for a potential gambling site back in 2020.
Other superstars like Phoenix’s Kevin Durant and Trae Young of the Atlanta Hawks are also invested in fantasy sports operators, and this news could see the way paved for full sportsbook launches from their respective companies.
However, not all investors will be happy with the news. In 2022, Fanatics owner Michael Rubin decided it would be prudent to sell his stakes in the Philadelphia 76ers, as his company was about to launch a US sportsbook – and at the time, such dual investments were potentially against the rules.
Less than a year later Mr. Rubin might now be ruing that preemptive call, as gambling companies and the NBA come closer together.
Also looking on with interest will be anti-gambling campaigners. They could point out various high profile cases recently of gambling creating unsavory incidents at games, using them as evidence for their claims these rule changes are going in the wrong direction.
Just last month, Washington Wizards’ shooting guard Bradley Beal was confronted by a fan after an away game loss against the Orlando Magic. The man was angry that Beal’s perceived poor performance had cost him a loss on a $1000 bet.
During the altercation, Beal allegedly struck a friend of the angry fan. According to the Guardian newspaper, Florida police considered a misdemeanor charge against the all-star player.
This news also comes as other sports build closer ties with gambling operators. The NFL recently agreed to allow retail sportsbooks to operate inside stadiums on game day in legal states.