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60 Minutes To Tackle Legal Sports Betting On Sunday


Legal sports betting is the topic of a segment on 60 Minutes on CBS Sunday.

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver and Marshall University Athletic Director Mike Hamrick are among the sports officials who will appear. A U.S. Supreme Court ruling in May overturned federal law that opened the door for many states to have legal sportsbooks.

Since the decision, seven other states have joined Nevada with legal sports betting – Delaware, Mississippi, New Jersey, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and West Virginia. New York, Connecticut and the District of Columbia have passed some form of betting legislation and are poised to implement it. And as many other states have legislation under consideration.

Silver, who was at the forefront of support for legal sports wagering, penning an op-ed in 2014 in The New York Times, will reiterate his reasoning on 60 Minutes as seen in preview clips.

He will argue that legal sports betting cuts the risk of corruption and believes a paper trail makes legal gamling safe.

“I think it decreases risk dramatically,” Silver tells 60 Minutes reporter Jon Wertheim in the segment. “Because we have access to the betting information. I think when you have an underground business operating in the shadows, you have no idea what people are betting on your own events.”

For states that legalize gambling, the revenue generated by legal sportsbooks is among one of the top arguments in favor of implementing sports betting. Silver is also expected to talk about the upside for sports leagues who benefit from increased engagement of bettors and sports fans.

Of course, not everyone agrees.

The award-winning CBS news program also speaks with Hamrick who players are vulnerable of being compromised due to the expansion of legal sports betting.

"There's people that will do what they have to do to make a buck at the expense of an 18 or 19-year-old kid," Hamrick warns. His employer, Marshall, sits in West Virginia among the first states to institute legal sports gambling.

Hamrick is uneasy and he says other athletic directors are as well.

“It’s right in front of my face, Jon,” Hamrick tells Wertheim in the promotional clips released by CBS. “And most athletic directors I’ve spoken with feel the same way…as more states legalize sports gambling, it’ll affect more and more athletic directors.”

The Marshall AD also says the many opportunities bettors have to place money on games including prop bets and in-game wagers may make it easier to influence a player and game.

"It's very tempting. It's very tempting," he says. "They can be compromised. And our job is to make sure they're not compromised.  …  gambling. It can be handled to a certain extent. But nobody can sit here and tell you that they can deal with this and be 100 percent clean … they can’t.”

The 60 Minutes segment on sports betting is timely as the NCAA basketball championship AKA March Madness tipped off Thursday on CBS. The show airs Sunday night at 7PM ET.