Laker star and president of basketball operations will address issue of legal sports betting at G2E

NBA Legend Magic Johnson To Talk Sports Betting At Vegas Gaming Convention

Magic Johnson sports betting
NBA legend Earvin “Magic” Johnson will talk about the issue of legal and regulated sports betting at the gaming industry’s premier conference in Las Vegas next week.

Magic to deliver keynote, talk sports betting

The basketball hall of famer and former Los Angeles Lakers star will deliver a keynote address at the Global Gaming Expo (G2E) on Thursday, Oct. 5.

The keynote will be fairly wide ranging. But the more interesting part for proponents of sports betting will be an ensuing conversation he will have with American Gaming Association President and CEO Geoff Freeman. That chat will cover “his views on the future of sports betting legalization and the possibilities of it being accepted into the mainstream sports industry.”

“Magic Johnson’s experience on and off the court has helped shape his successful business career,” Freeman said in a press release. “I look forward to talking with him about the future of sports betting.”

Johnson brings a unique perspective to the issue, as he is president of basketball operations of the Lakers. He also is part of ownership groups for the L.A. Dodgers of Major League Baseball and the L.A. Sparks of the WNBA.

NBA again talking sports betting

Johnson does not appear to be acting as a representative of the NBA. But it’s the second year someone with ties to the league will talk about sports betting at G2E.

Last year, former NBA Commissioner David Stern appeared at the conference and gave his thoughts about sports betting. Then, he espoused a federal framework.

Of course, current Commissioner Adam Silver has been the most aggressive of the sports betting legalization of front out of all the major US pro sports leagues.

Sports betting a focus of G2E

The issue is coming to a head as the US Supreme Court will rule on the New Jersey sports betting case in 2018. That offers the possibility that other states could legalize sports gambling, if New Jersey wins the case and the federal ban is struck down as unconstitutional.

Several panels at the gaming industry gathering will focus on the issue of sports betting, including:

  • How States Are Readying For a Future with Sports Betting
  • The Business of Sports Betting: Global Perspective on Integrity, Regulation and Opportunity
  • Is It or Isn’t It? iGaming within Sports Betting in the US

Freeman will also discuss sports betting during his “state of the industry” address on Tuesday, Oct. 3.

Dustin Gouker
- Dustin Gouker has been a sports journalist for more than 15 years, working as a reporter, editor and designer -- including stops at The Washington Post and the D.C. Examiner.