NBA Cracks Down on Gambling Referees

NBA Cracks Down on Gambling Referees

The NBA seems to have referees that like gambling.

But the NBA commish isn’t going to punish them for it. He’s going to change the rules.

National Basketball Association commissioner David Stern has discovered that a large percentage of professional basketball referees have violated their no-gambling rule. The NBA had an absolute ban on gambling placed on their officials, basically banning them from even stepping foot inside of a casino. The ban was set in place when Las Vegas was the only city in America with casinos and sportsbooks and when other more mainstream forms of gambling such as state lotteries were in existence.

“The reality is that about half of our referees have told us they have been into casinos over the last year, and I’ve decided that they will not be disciplined for that because I think the rule is overly broad,” says David Stern. “It’s not the right thing to do to slap these guys on the wrist.”

How are these rules going to get changed for officials?

The rules were wide and erratic. So now Stern and the rest of the higher-ups in the NBA are going to rewrite these rules and enforce them hardcore style. This comes on the back of the admission of Tim Donaghy, the referee that bet on games and was reportedly paid by the mafia to assist on the fixing of games in the 2006-2007 NBA season and possibly before that also. Donaghy is currently awaiting his federal charges sentencing court date. NBA commish Stern has said that the league has not found any evidence that there were any other basketball referees involved in the fixing of games and NBA game gambling.

“The current state of the record is that Mr. Donaghy acted alone,” says the NBA commissioner David Stern. “No other referees bet on NBA games. Donaghy is a criminal who did a bad thing, and there’s an entire set of questions with respect to gambling and the like. But let’s not conflate that with the question of the competence of our officials.”

Some of the changes planned by the basketball league includes using statistical tracking mechanisms “to detect signs that something may be amiss”, cell phone regulations placed on referees, public declarations when officials make bad calls in basketball games, and announcements of the referees for a particular game in the morning, instead of the current 90 minutes before game tip-off to prevent leaking of information.

“We want our referees to have clear sets of rules that are not overly broad and that are enforced and well understood,” says Stern.

This whole situation with Donaghy really has rocked my thoughts on referees. I always gave them the benefit of the doubt when they made a bad call as I know many other people did.

But what about now? Can we trust referees in sports?

Now those conspiracy theory wackos on sports talk radio don’t sound so wacko anymore. This situation has been one of the biggest scandals to rock professional sports and will have repercussions on all sports to get tabs on their officiating and regulate their high ranking officials. All this comes on the heel of Las Vegas trying to get the attention of the NBA to bring a professional basketball team to Sin City, with Stern stating he wants Vegas to ban local sportsbooks from accepting basketball bets.

There have been other reports of other sports with a gambling controversies. Pete Rose, a famous example, who bet on baseball games while he was a coach for the Major League Baseball team Cincinnati Reds. Or Robert Hoyzer, the convicted referee who took bribes to fix soccer games in Germany and was sentenced to 29 months in prison.