NEW YORK — Even though there is a substantial loophole, the NBA had the best interests of gamblers and fantasy sports players in mind Friday when the Board of Governors adopted a rule change mandating that teams announce their starting lineups 30 minutes prior to tipoff.
Previously, the rule was 10 minutes.
“This lends itself to Adam’s vision surrounding transparency, and it addresses problems experienced by players in the gambling and fantasy sports communities,” NBA President of League Operations Byron Spruell told TheLines.com in an exclusive interview. “Those extra 20 minutes provide a much better situation for sports gamblers and fantasy players, and we want to be up front.”
The NBA has been at the forefront in the ongoing change in the U.S. sports gambling industry, beginning with an op-ed article Commissioner Adam Silver wrote in the New York Times calling for the legalization and regulation of professional sports gambling in November of 2014.
The U.S. Supreme Court overturned PASPA on May 14, 2018, and 13 states now have legal sports betting operations in place, with seven more having bills pending a launch date.
A rule for gambling?
The vote to change the starting lineup announcement rule was unanimous by the 30 NBA ownership groups.
“To increase transparency for teams, media and fans, the league will now require teams to submit their starting lineups 30 minutes prior to the game’s scheduled start time instead of the previous rule of 10 minutes,” the NBA said in its official news release. “Teams will retain the ability to amend their starting lineups prior to the beginning of the game if circumstances change. This type of change is most likely to occur if a player sustains or reaggravates an injury during pregame warm-ups.”
Another reason for the rule change was to put an end to the shenanigans employed by some coaches, who would change their starting lineups just moments before tipoff.
“It had become too crazy, and a more formal process was needed,” a league source said.
So what does this mean for those who play daily fantasy sports? There are many people who play NBA DFS every day and rely on fast and current information before finalizing decisions. The new rule means they can learn the skill of taking 10 consecutive deep breaths as the games near.
For sports bettors, that extra 20 minutes can make all the difference at a sportsbook if the wagering lines are long and the betting clerks are slow. Early lineup and injury information can also affect line movement and handle at the books.
The mainstream media attending Friday’s news conference focused nearly all of their questions on the new rules to prevent tampering in light of the unprecedented amount of player movement that took place right at the start of free agency on June 30.
But for those whose interests run more toward action on the games, the move made by the commissioner and the Board of Governors was a welcome one.