Widespread sports betting just got a surprising ally: the man in charge of one of the leagues that's fought so hard to keep sports books squarely in Vegas.
SILVER: "I believe that sports betting should be brought out of the underground and into the sunlight where it can be appropriately monitored and regulated."
Silver — the man whose bold moves in such a short time on the job include a new league-wide TV deal and getting rid of Clippers owner Donald Sterling — says keeping sports betting illegal simply encourages illegal activity. (Video via KCBS)
It's hard to argue. Sports betting is common abroad, and Silver noted some estimate U.S. gamblers risk $400 billion a year on games — skirting the legal confines of a Vegas sports book, whether online or through a bookie. (Video via Levy Productions)
Bookies have inspired pop culture projects as grand as Hollywood movies …
RACHAEL LEIGH COOK IN "BOOKIES": "It's not just the NCAA investigating; it's the FBI."
... or dark subplots for cable shows that likely represent a more real impact on the addicted sports gambler.
GAMBLER ON TNT'S "MEN OF A CERTAIN AGE": "Let me have Kentucky. I have a good feeling about this one."
RAY ROMANO: "So $5,000, yeah?"
Only two months ago, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie announced the state would no longer prosecute casinos and racetracks for accepting bets on professional sporting events, a move Silver wrote "will be both unlawful and bad public policy" without a better federal solution.
While Time called this a "radical change" in the NBA's position, Silver has flirted with the concept in recent months.
SILVER ON BLEACHER REPORT: "I do think sports betting on a widespread, legalized basis is inevitable."
Among the moves Silver called for: monitoring unusual betting line movements and ways to ID and help people with gambling problems.
This video includes images from Getty Images.