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Has NBA Betting Gone Too Far?

Sportradar, a global sports technology company, announced that they will be partnering with the NBA to release a new in-app betting feature on NBA League Pass. League Pass subscribers can bet on point spreads, over/unders, and money lines in real-time during games through the NBA app exclusively.


Hardcore basketball fans and thinkers will be the first to determine that this feature promotes betting too blatantly. Microbetting is slowly etching its way into media which advertently changes the way fans view products that they cheer or pay for. Fortunately, the feature can be toggled on and off but the presence of the feature itself is a foresight into the future of the betting industry.


The Problem

The integration raises concerns about the normalization and encouragement of betting within sports. Typically, sports are celebrated for their athleticism, skill requirement, competition, and Cinderella stories. But this feature shifts the focus to the potential loss and gain of betting.


This feature contributes to a toxic betting culture where fans insult players who ruin their parlays because they just couldn`t make one more three. The spectator experience has become commercialized. It is impossible to watch an NBA game without a slight mention of betting.


This feature also prioritizes the fan over the player. In an interview with Athletics' James Boyd, all-star Indiana Pacer Tyrese Haliburton retorted, "To half the world, I'm just helping them make money on DraftKings...I'm a prop."



Cleveland Cavaliers head coach, J.B. Bickerstaff also voiced his disdain for the effects of sports betting, who was scolded last season by bettors online. "They got my telephone number and were sending me crazy messages about where I live and my kids and all that stuff. So, it is a dangerous game and a fine line that we’re walking for sure.”


Toronto Raptors forward, Jontay Porter is currently being investigated for placing prop bets on himself. Allegedly, Porter and a group of others took his under in three stat categories. Supposedly, Porter would then fake an injury and sub out of the game, never checking back in.


There is also footage of Porter reacting strangely to his own three-point make. The NBA strictly prohibits players from betting on themselves. If true, many expect the NBA to make an example out of him. Additionally, this raises the questions about if and who else is betting on themselves in the league.


By allowing fans to place bets on various aspects of the game, the NBA is taking away from the purity of basketball. Hardcore fans may find themselves battered with prompts and opportunities to wager on virtually any and every play. Betting is legal in 25 states and the industry is still growing in terms of accessibility.


In a wider scope, betting is a societal issue that implicitly targets the younger generations and it all started with loot boxes in video games. All in all, betting is acceptable in moderation and on special occasions. But society is potentially seeing the push to implement it into regular daily life.


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