Celtics may be in one of the most betting-friendly states soon
The topic of gambling is one that is typically kept away from American sports, as leagues have long been concerned about the integrity of their games. But with sports betting becoming legal in an increasing number of states as of late, that stigma is finally starting to vanish. And if certain legislation goes through in Massachusetts, the Boston Celtics will soon be in one of the most betting-friendly states in the country.
Massachusetts governor Charlie Baker is pushing legislation that would legalize sports betting in Massachusetts, both online and in casinos. With other states in the northeast like New Jersey already being a part of that action, there has already been a proven demand as bettors have been traveling to New Jersey from surrounding states to take part in the legalized wagering.
So what could this mean for the Celtics, who play in one of the most progressive leagues in the United States regarding their position on wagering? The NBA has stated that they support the legalization of sports betting, as commissioner Adam Silver has said that he understands that the tide is moving in that direction with or without his support. But it is Silver's thoughts on what that legalization would look like that would implicate the Celtics directly.
Silver has said that he supports legalization, but that the NBA should also be compensated for its agreement to allow its product to be wagered on. He labeled this an integrity fee, but the implication would be clear that it is really just a commission on wagers placed on the product that he oversees. Whether or not Silver is successful in getting sportsbooks to agree to such a fee remains to be seen, but his success could impact the Cs in a big way.
If the NBA was bringing in additional revenue from wagers placed on the NBA, that revenue would theoretically be split among the clubs in some form or fashion. That increased revenue would mean more money for upgrades to facilities or the potential for an increase in salaries to attract better talent to teams around the league. And with the Celtics being on the cusp of championship contention, a little extra salary cap space could be just what is required to push the team over the hump.
The gambling-friendly attitude of the NBA combined with the increasingly gambling-friendly attitude of the state itself could see the Celtics approach betting and casinos in other ways as well. With Massachusetts expanding their casino footprint, it is entirely possible that pro sports teams like the Celtics could benefit from online casinos as well. Many of these offer online sportsbooks alongside their casino games, allowing another audience entirely to get started with sports betting through the use of welcome bonuses and offers.
While the decision is far from being made, it certainly seems like the tide of public opinion is in favor of more sports betting. The Celtics can either take advantage of this or be left behind. However, the benefits of getting on board now seem to greatly outweigh the negatives.