Former NBA commissioner David Stern unequivocally voiced support for legalized sports gambling in the United States on Thursday night.
“There should be federal legislation that says, ‘Let’s go all the way’ and have betting on sports. It’s OK. It’s going to be properly regulated," Stern said at a forum on the future of sports media in New York City, according to The Bergen Record.
Stern's approval of federally regulated, legal sports betting follows the view of his successor, NBA commissioner Adam Silver, who called upon Congress to create a framework for states to authorize betting on professional sports in November 2014.
“The only thing that makes sense for professional sports is to have federal legislation and regulation,” said Stern in an interview with The Bergen Record following Thursday night's event.
Stern did say, however, that he generally opposed a gambling legislation on a state-by-state basis. “If it’s subject to 50 individual states, you have every state representative who thinks he has a perfect idea -- that’s problematic," he said.
Specifically, Stern opposes New Jersey's attempt to give state racetracks and Atlantic City casinos the option to open their own sportsbooks for betting on NFL, NBA, MLB and NHL games. A U.S. appeals court ruled against New Jersey's sports betting law in August, but in September, Governor Chris Christie filed a motion to re-hear the case.
In Stern's view, having the federal government regulate sports betting for the NFL, NBA, MLB and NHL is preferable to a state solution, as all four major sports leagues are national entities.
"I think that gives a way for states to make more money, for leagues to be compensated for their intellectual property, and for the federal government to take [away] illegally bet money and put it through the federal coffers," said Stern.
The commissioner that once saw gambling threaten the integrity of his sport has spoken: Legalize it.
Also on HuffPost: