Three big-name NBA owners seem convinced sports betting in the United States will soon be legalized and regulated.
Charlotte Hornets owner Michael Jordan, Dallas Mavericks boss Mark Cuban and Washington Wizards owner Ted Leonsis have reportedly combined to invest $44 million in Sportsradar AG, a sports data company with deep ties in the global bookmaking industry.
Leonsis, who also owns the NHL’s Washington Capitals, told Bloomberg Business News that it’s “probably an inevitability” that sports betting will be legalized in the U.S.
Sports betting has been a hot topic of debate south of the border for many years, including the recent emergence of daily fantasy sports sites such as Draft Kings and FanDuel. Though the United States made it illegal to fund online sportsbook sites in 2006 with the passing of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, Canada has maintained a relaxed policy on use of online sportsbooks. There is nothing specific in the Canadian Criminal Code that suggests it is illegal to bet online, and Canada does not have an equivalent to the Wire Act in the U.S.
All Canadian provinces also offer Proline or other provincial sports lotteries, though those games do not allow single-game sports betting in Canada.
It’s not a surprise to see Mark Cuban getting behind the sports betting cause. In a 2004 blog post, the Shark Tank icon suggested it’s actually easier to make money betting sports than trading on the stock exchange.
Click here to read the full Bloomberg Business News story on the investment by Jordan, Cuban and Leonsis, and the reasoning why.