Poker Players Need Place to Bet on Basketball

by , Jun 5, 2008 | 5:38 am

Boston Celtics vs. LA Lakers … apparently people are pretty excited about this upcoming NBA finals. And while quite a few poker players have been known to place some sports bets, they’re gonna have to leave the Rio to do so this year

Harrah’s Chairman and CEO Gary Loveman owns 2.4 percent of the Celtics, and that may or may not be a conflict of interest. The directive reportedly comes straight from David Stern the NBA, and thus no Harrah’s properties will be taking bets on the NBA finals. Talk about a hit for Harrah’s, the Rio, Caesar’s Palace, Paris, Bally’s, Imperial Palace, Flamingo, Bills, Harrah’s Lake Tahoe, Harrah’s Reno, Harrah’s Laughlin … perhaps a mini-boon for Bellagio.

The Palms and Silverton also won’t be taking bets on the NBA finals, as their owners also have ownership stakes in other NBA teams. I find this pretty darn interesting … because if the NBA can remove betting on the finals at these casinos, why wouldn’t they want to maintain the same level of “integrity” throughout the regular season?

11 Comments to “Poker Players Need Place to Bet on Basketball”

  1. Kevin Mathers

    I thought those casinos didn’t take bets on the Celtics, Kings (Palms) or Lakers (at Silverton) during the regular season.

  2. DanM

    I don’t know … I think this is new territory. I’m not much of a sports bettor — in fact, have never punted in an LV sportsbook ever — but the Review-Journal article makes it seem like this is new:

    The company dropped betting lines at Harrah’s-branded casinos in Reno, Lake Tahoe and Laughlin and at Harveys Lake Tahoe.

    Why would they have to drop them if they didn’t already exist?

  3. DanM

    I’m watching the local vegas news right now (Channel 3) and they are def. treating this like a small-big deal. I mean it’s not a huge story, but it’s a story … and they’re giving no indication that this is just a matter of the same-ole same-ole.

  4. Kevin Mathers

    I’d assume from this link that it was a condition of Loveman buying his share of the Celtics that Harrah’s could no longer take bets on Celtics games. The Palms haven’t been able to take Sacramento Kings games since they’ve built that casino, and I don’t know who goes to the Silverton to bet on the NBA.

  5. DanM

    And ohmygosh, I’m not kidding, the male contingent of the morning duo just introduced a story about a multi-sport Special Olympian with an amazing gaffe! (I checked the Tivo to make sure I really heard what I did.)

    Dana Wagner just said: “Blah blah blah introduces us to one special asshol — athlete — who shows us there are ways to overcome disabilities.”

    OK, sorry, not related to betting on basketball but still funny.

  6. Uncle Ray

    The whole concept of the NBA telling them what to take bets on or not is ludicrous.

    I believe the only reason the casinos are going along with the “directive” is because Vegas has been pushing for a franchise and the casino industry has said they would not take bets on a Vegas team if it were an NBA franchise. That’s why I think they didn’t take any action on the All-Star game that was there last year.

    Once the NBA flatly turns them down, let’s see how long it takes the casinos with minor “conflicts of interest” to start accepting bets again.

  7. DanM

    From the RJ story:

    Although Loveman was seeking only a small stake, the purchase was rejected by the league’s commissioner, David Stern, because of Loveman’s role in a casino company.

    But Loveman’s application was forwarded in April to the seven-member committee that is studying Las Vegas’ viability to be the home city for an NBA team and was approved.

  8. Poker Shrink

    On another pro sports betting related issue. Monday Night Football on ESPN this fall will be promoting the Fall Final table but NOT during the NFL games because, as we all know, the NFL is against betting. Apparently pre-game and half-time are OK.

  9. Kevin Mathers

    While the NFL is against betting, they’re all over fantasy football. Nothing wrong with that, no sir.

  10. Uncle Ray

    Just a guess here, but I’d bet (sorry, that might not be allowed) that the real reason ESPN is not advertising the WSOP on MNF is that they can get a lot of money from outside advertisers for spots. Why should they waste a good source of income by putting on spots of their own?

    And as you said, pre-game and halftime promos still get a good portion of the audience.

  11. David Stern

    “Once the NBA flatly turns them down, let’s see how long it takes the casinos with minor “conflicts of interest” to start accepting bets again.”

    It’s actually the other way around. You can’t own an NBA team if any of your ownership groups other interests accept sports bets on the team in question. The league has ownership rules in place to prevent this – if the Palms were to take a single $5 wager on a Kings game, the NBA can fine them up to (I believe) $5 million US and should they get really pissy, they could revoke ownership of the franchise. It’s a slippery slope for an NBA owner to be accpeting bets on his own team. The conflict of interest is very, very real.