LSR Podcast: Is the sports betting market making NBA arenas toxic?

Sports crowds can often be loud, intimidating and when things don’t go their way, unforgiving. 

But according to ESPN basketball insider Adrian Wojnarowski, he attributed sports betting as a reason why basketball fans are growing increasingly toxic as he discussed  Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving’s frosty relationship with fans of the Boston Celtics. 

The Legal Sports Report podcast host Matt Brown was joined by LSR reporter Dustin Gouker to discuss the notion made by Wojnarowski and whether there was any truth to his comments. 

“I’m not just sitting here and buying that,” rebuffed Gouker. 

“There are about a million things that are creating toxic environments at sporting events, including alcohol and the breakdown of society of us just being nice to one another. Gambling for me is like number 10 on the list of things that can make a toxic environment.”

Brown reaffirms Gouker’s points on alcohol and also mentions the fandom aspect as to why fans would boo a certain player or team. Brown also delves into the daily fantasy sports angle of the debate, where fans are reliant on players to play well in order for them to succeed. 

“Individual performances is what fantasy is all about, not the actual team performing,” remarks Brown. 

“Prop betting, while we assume it will get bigger over time, it is a microscopic part of what’s going on with these businesses. No one ever wants to say anything about fantasy sports because it’s been around for a long time.”

Moving away from the sports betting/fan debate, the podcast looks at Pennsylvania sportsbooks hitting a key milestone by grossing over $1 billion in March for the first time since launching in November, 2018. 

Conversely, the Michigan sports betting handle dropped for the first time in six months and Brown and Gouker go into detail as to why. Plus, the duo also recap on updates in Maryland, Missouri and Kansas on their pushes for legalisation.