For better or worse, Mark Cuban has long been known as one of the more colorful owners in professional sports. A primary reason is that he’s rarely short on opinions and usually long on sharing them.
With as seismic an event as the eradication of PASPA by the Supreme Court on Monday, it’s no surprise Cuban put in his two cents. Except it was more like four, as he’s traversed the map a bit over the last 24 hours when it comes to legalized sports betting.
Cuban seems of two minds on certain sports betting aspects
Cuban seemed ebullient in the hours following the announcement, singing the praises of the decision to CNBC. The Dallas Mavericks owner and billionaire investor even remarked that owners of any top four professional teams instantly “saw the value of their team double” as a result of the Supreme Court’s verdict.
He sounded somewhat of a different tune during a portion of a Tuesday morning interview on the Dan Patrick Show. Curiously, the note of caution he expressed resonates quite neatly with the NBA’s “company line” on their current sports-betting hot-button issue: integrity fees.
"The bigger problem is the integrity aspect. …. That's 1,000 times tougher at the college level. It's going to be really difficult to make sure that kid at a community college isn't shaving 5 points off the end of a game." – Mark Cuban on @dpshow
— Andrew Perloff (@andrewperloff) May 15, 2018
There’s likely a method to Cuban’s madness
The junior college example he provides is a long and improbable way to go to endorse the need for such a fee.
On the surface, it seems far-fetched that there would be ANY action on a game at that level of athletics for such a scandal.
Moreover, the comment, along with many others that have been made in support of such a provision, seem to ignore what’s long been a reality: millions of dollars are already wagered on college sports each year.
That not only accounts for legalized single-game wagering in Nevada, but for all bets taking place through multiple illegal channels, including offshore sportsbooks. And March Madness pools are so pervasive, they reside in their own zip code, so to speak.
Despite the monumental amounts of cash already riding on college events, the games continue to unfold without any betting-related scandals and corresponding public image catastrophes. Presumably, there is already a certain degree of monitoring and internal policing going on with not just the NCAA, but all of the major sports leagues currently making their full-court press for integrity fees on state legislatures.
Therefore, Cuban’s comment doesn’t really square with his otherwise progressive and enthusiastic stance on sports betting, which even includes support for features such as in-game and mobile wagering.
However, when looked at through the prism of his role as a prominent figure in an entity that would stand to rake in multiple millions from either casinos or the states in integrity fees, it makes a lot more sense.