NBA’s New Starting Lineup Rule Has The Sports Betting Industry in Mind
There is no doubt that the atmosphere has changed since the Supreme Court overturned the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, which effectively opened things up for the legalization of sports betting in any state that wanted to do it.
What it also did was sanitize the sports betting industry and culture for the existing sports leagues. We have seen the effect of this, as they have been seeking partnerships with casino and/or sports gambling interests.
But what’s interesting is that the National Basketball Association (NBA) was ahead of the others, as the commissioner, Adam Silver, not only acknowledged that the business existed, and was a viable source of fan interest, but that his league should somehow figure out a way to integrate itself with gambling.
See How NBA’s New Starting Lineup Rule Has Gamblers in Mind
It is so overt now that owners like Ted Leonsis of the Washington Wizards are ready to host a sportsbook at his own venue (the Capital One Arena).
So we don’t think it’s any coincidence that Silver might tweak his league’s rules to accommodate those fans who may also be placing a friendly wager or two.
At the forefront of most of it is the desire to make things more transparent, so that it didn’t appear as if any information was being hidden from the viewer.
So he has announced that all teams would be required to publicly reveal their starting lineups a full 30 minutes before tip-off.
There was indeed an existing rule that required such information to be public ten minutes before the start of the game. But the extra twenty minutes is by no means an insignificant thing.
You see, there have been instances where coaches pulled something of a “surprise” when it came to their decision to rest starters, or play people who were questionable because of an injury situation. Without the gambling angle involved, that wouldn’t mean very much at all. But when information is concealed from the general public, it is often available to just a few, and that leaves open the possibility that some could unfairly avail themselves of a betting opportunity.
That doesn’t necessarily signal corruption, but it could conceivably give the appearance of something rather sordid. And if you are forward-looking, you can see that a lot of the interest in a particular game might come from those betting on it, you know that you don’t want to add any unnecessary stigma to your brand. So it is better to have things as “out in the open” as possible.
And it is the right thing to do.
When someone who has the information acts on it, and it disadvantages someone else who doesn’t, it is, to use a term that may corny here, unfair. And advocates of the sports betting industry do pride themselves on presenting as much of a “level playing field” as possible. And what’s worse for the industry is that a sportsbook itself could get caught with its pants down by not being able to move lines in time to counter those who are aware of info that breaks too late, and that just doesn’t do anything positive for the integrity of the product.
So you’re hopefully not going to see any more situations like what Gregg Popovich or Steve Kerr have done, which is to decide at the last minute that some superstar was not going to play.
Of course, there is an allowance for those instances where a player who is injured and is a “game-time decision” might be unavailable because of something that was determined during pre-game warmups.
But you can bet (pardon the pun) that the league will be keeping a close eye on that kind of thing.