NBA officials working to integrate sports betting, prevent game-fixing

Regulated US sports betting presents a number of quandaries for US-facing professional sports leagues. For starters, how do you credibly integrate sports betting-related revenue streams into your business model after you’ve spent decades talking about how dangerous sports betting is to your entire existence? For the NBA, that effort is focused on an increased push to prevent game-fixing through increased reliance on advanced analytics. In this case, those analytics are being provided by the Swiss sports data group, Sportradar. Sportradar’s challenge with the NBA and basketball is slightly different from what it would face if it was, for example, contracted to work with the NFL. In basketball, one player can have an outsized impact on whether or not a team wins and, more importantly, by how much. A basketball league that lacked the kinds of oversights the kinds of oversights the NBA is installing could be setting itself up for the kind of game-fixing scandals that rocked the tennis world in recent years. The NBA, however, is preparing for all thing sports betting-related with a massive education push for its players and staff. In an interview with ESPN.com, deputy NBA commissioner Mark Tatum described the effort saying, “We’re spending a lot of time learning from the mistakes that were made and what we’re seeing in sports betting in places around the world. We’re trying to educate our fans. We’re educating our players and our teams. We’re taking a little bit of a cautious approach here.” His league, it should be noted, was the most sports-betting friendly of all the US professional sports leagues and can be expected to lead the way when it comes to integrating the new realities of regulated sports betting in American sporting life.