Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban says the league’s stricter load management policies were implemented mostly because of increased interest in NBA betting.
The league is projected to receive $167 million in revenue next season from casinos and NBA betting, ESPN’s Bobby Marks reported.
Cuban says consumers now care more about their wagers than they do rooting for a particular team.
“While I think fans looked at it from one perspective, I don’t think it was as big of a problem as it was made out to be,” Cuban told ESPN on Thursday. “I think a lot of the influence came from gamblers.
“We’ve transitioned from a world of, ‘Hey, this is my team, I grew up a Mavs fan, I’ll always be a Mavs fan,’ to on social media half the talk, if not more, is about, ‘I’ve got this bet on this game, what are the odds going to be, what is the line going to be?’ And that influences a lot of perspective of load management. Because of, ‘Who am I going to bet on?’ It’s unfortunate, but that’s the reality of the world we live in.”
Other rule factors than NBA betting
Not everyone shared Cuban’s take, however.
Stars sitting games has frustrated the ticket-buying public.
Chris Haynes of Bleacher Report reported that the Portland Trailblazers asked Damian Lillard to sit the final 10 games last season, so they could lose and secure better lottery odds for a higher draft pick as a result.
The leagued fined the Mavericks $750,000 in April for sitting players to secure a better pick.
Cuban lukewarm on Texas legalization
Texas failed to pass sports betting legislation last cycle.
At the time, Cuban was more focused on casino expansion than sports betting.
“Nope. [Sports betting]’s less interesting to me,” Cuban wrote in an email to LSR.
Others give take on NBA betting rules
Haralabos Voulgaris, a professional gambler who used to work in the Dallas front office under Cuban, tweeted:
“I can pretty confidently say that the only ‘fans’ who don’t care about NB load management are the same fans that will stay tuned into a blowout as long as the side or total or some prop is still in doubt. Gamblers actually likely prefer load management because it provides opportunities to get ahead of line moves.”
Marks: TV rights deal reason for rules
Marks worked in the front office with the New Jersey/Brooklyn Nets for two decades. He said the upcoming TV rights deal was the main reason for the changes.
The league wants its star players suiting up, and therefore stricter penalties are in place should teams fail to comply. The NBA’s current TV agreement expires following the 2024-25 season.
“I think the resting policy is motivated by the new television deal. If ESPN, Turner or Amazon want to spend billions of dollars, they want Giannis (Antetokounmpo) and (Kevin) Durant on the court. They don’t want guys resting on back-to-backs,” Marks told LSR.
NBA bettors should know new rules
Marks said it is smart for the league to be more transparent given its new gambling sponsorships.
“But I think that’s probably a smaller part of (the load management rules),” Marks said. “I just think we probably have to do a better job educating people, whether that be professional athletes or college athletes on the risks that come with it.”
Marks said it would be wise for bettors to understand the new rules as it pertains to making wagers on props like win totals and award futures.
“I think you have to be more educated on what the rules are going to be to see who’s eligible,” Marks said. “Like with Victor (Wembanyama), because the 65-game criteria doesn’t impact Rookie of the Year, he might play 50 games and win it. So it’s a little bit different.”