NBA Better could start to affect NBA history
Sports betting has become a new huge boom of income for sports teams, and the NBA seems to be on the forefront of this new boom. This is something just 10 years ago would have been unthinkable for the NBA. But where there is boom, there is bust and some teams could be left in the dust.
Congress allowed the states to start to allow sports betting and opened up online betting just a few years ago. Online sports betting started to grow in the early 2000s, but in 2008 Congress banned online gaming after pressure from the Las Vegas gaming industry. But that same industry started pushing just a few years later to reopen online gaming in the US. Which Congress did in 2016.
Originally sports leagues were apprehensive about diving into online betting, the NBA especially. The NBA has a long dark history with gambling which actually caused one of its early teams to fold. The NBA had a strict anti-gambling stance well into the late 1990s. The league originally banned Connie Hawkins because of his connection to gambling, and the rumor persists that Michael Jordan's retirement in 1993 was due to gambling.
But the NBA and the world have changed. The NBA's fear that players would bet on or against themselves and throw games has gone away, mostly due to the outrageous salaries they make, and if a player did do this they'd likely be banned for life.
That is not to say the NBA has not had issues recently. Referee Tim Donaghy was arrested by the FBI for rigging NBA games. The NBA has still not come to terms with this issue, and many fans continue to insist that it was more than just one man going rogue.
The availability of modern technology has allowed fans to get right into the action of sporting events, and this has allowed for the creation of on-the-fly gambling A fan can pull up their phone and set reminders to make sure to check out NBA picks before the games start to get in on the action, and this has made the casino industry very rich.
Teams have started to partner with online betting companies to set up official betting partners. So far 15 teams have official betting partners where the teams get a cut of the revenue. It is suspected that by the end of 2025, 29 of the 30 teams will have a partner.
So who is being left out? That would be the Utah Jazz. Unfortunately for the Jazz and their fans, the team is located in a theocratic state which has strict bans on gambling. The Jazz and LDS church, or Mormon church, are both headquartered in Salt Lake City. The Jazz arena is actually three blocks west of the LDS church headquarters.
There will be no way the Jazz will ever be allowed to have any association with gambling. The Jazz may be privately owned, but their ownership since 1984 has been made up of active Mormons who follow their leaders, even to the detriment of their business.
The Jazz was the only team to vote against allowing a gambling partner with the NBA, and at one time actively blocked gambling sites on their staff's computers. Though, ironically, from 1991-2008 the Jazz were one of the few teams that had major casino sponsors. From 1991 until 2004, what is now Wendover fun sponsored the Jazz and did have ads in their arena and on the Jazz flagship TV station, and from 2004-08 a Mesquite, NV, based casino group had sponsorship. That sponsorship and the casino died in the economic crash of 2008, and since then the Jazz have not had a casino sponsor.
The Jazz will likely lose out on a lot of money because of the lack of gambling revenues, and teams have already signaled their unwillingness to share gaming income in the lead up to new collective bargaining talks. Add this to Utah being the least desirable place to play in major North American sports, and the Jazz could be looking at their winning days in Salt Lake City.