NBA gambling

What was once one of the major barriers to Southern Nevada landing a major professional sports team continues to crumble.

On Thursday, the NBA’s Board of Governors voted to allow the Maloof brothers — who own the league’s Sacramento Kings — to offer NBA betting lines at their Palms resort.

The league prohibition had been in place since the Maloof family, which previously owned the Fiesta Rancho casino, purchased the Kings in 1997. Lines on Kings games will continue to be off the board at the Palms, but contests involving the remaining NBA teams will be available.

“It’s great news,” said George Maloof, who added the Palms would begin taking wager on league action immediately. “It’s the right thing and it’s fair. We’re happy the NBA sees it that way, as well.”

There are many reasons why no team from the NBA, NHL, NFL or MLB calls Las Vegas home — a distaste for expansion; the lack of a new stadium or arena; a transient, transplanted population; the intense competition for the entertainment dollar, to name a few.

But as little as a decade ago, many major sports executives also worried that placing a franchise in a city defined by gambling could somehow compromise the integrity of their games.

Thursday’s decision by the NBA is another example of how such concerns are giving way to more enlightened analysis. And that means it’s only a matter of time before one of the major leagues realizes it would be foolish to continue to ignore one of the country’s fastest growing, most dynamic areas.

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