The tradition of playing the National Anthem before home games had stopped at Dallas Mavericks games, as directed by team owner Mark Cuban. It actually began at the beginning of the season, but it was then confirmed by Cuban that it was his decision.
Cuban didn’t speak further on the matter, but the decision was made after speaking with NBA commissioner Adam Silver.
The official policy of the NBA is to require all players to stand for the anthem, but that has yet to be enforced by the league. Cuban has also given vocal support to any player who chooses to kneel, but at least at Mavericks home games, that is no longer an issue.
The tradition of playing the “Star-Spangled Banner” began at the 1918 World Series, a year after the United States had entered World War I, though the song wasn’t officially adopted as the National Anthem until 1931.
Now, on Wednesday afternoon, the NBA has released a statement regarding the national anthem:
“With NBA teams now in the process of welcoming fans back into their arenas, all teams will play the national anthem in keeping with longstanding league policy.”
After the NBA issued its stance, a Mavericks representative told NPR, “The anthem will play before tonight’s game.”
Cuban also issued his own statement:
“We respect and always have respected the passion people have for the anthem and our country. I have always stood for the anthem with the hand over my heart – no matter where I hear it played. But we also hear the voices of those who do not feel the anthem represents them. We feel they also need to be respected and heard, because they have not been heard. The hope is that those who feel passionate about the anthem being played will be just as passionate in listening to those who do not feel it represents them.”
Beasley Sentenced For Gun Incident
Timberwolves guard Malik Beasley has been the lone bright spot for a Minnesota team that is limping along in last place. Beasley is averaging 20 points per game and has turned into one of the better three-point shooters in the league.
But the season is getting more complicated for Beasley, as he was just sentenced to 120 days for an incident in October where he pointed a rifle at a family in front of his home and was then found to have two pounds of marijuana in his house. The sentence, however, will be served after the season is over, so he can continue to play despite the cloud of knowing that at the end of May (tentatively scheduled), he will report to Hennepin County Workhouse.
He pleaded guilty to threats of violence, and the drug charge was dismissed. Once he completes three years of probation with no use of alcohol or drugs, the felony guilty plea will be reduced to a misdemeanor.
Lakers to Visit White House When Safe
The defending NBA champion Los Angeles Lakers have been extended an invitation to the White House, assuming COVID-19 safety protocols can all be met. Typically, the meeting between the NBA champion and the President of the United States happens when the team is in Washington, D.C., to play the Wizards, although that game has yet to be scheduled for the second half of this season.
The Lakers, the online sports betting favorite to repeat as champions, would be the first NBA champion to visit the White House since the Cleveland Cavaliers visited in 2016. All NBA champions since then have refused to visit the White House, although players and team officials with the Lakers say they would find it an honor to visit this year.
When the White House made the announcement that a visit with the Lakers was being worked on, it was confirmed that the Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers have also received an invitation.
Whilst this is not the first time that this plan has been put forward – it appeared in the November 2019 budget as well – the COVID-19 pandemic has brought fresh impetus. Taxation from online gambling revenues is seen as an important opportunity to cover the huge shortfalls that have resulted from a drop off in economic activity and high unemployment that is expected to continue well into 2021 and beyond.
So, how would the gambling market change for Canadian players?
Currently, if you are based in Canada and you want to gamble online you have two options. Either you can choose to play at one of the state-fun sites like PlayNow.com, run by the British Columbia Lottery Corporation, or you can play at one of the many off-shore sites that keep their doors open to Canadian players. Trusted gambling listings sites like The Casino Heat show that there are many big brands that do this, including big names from Europe like Casumo and Play OJO.
Were Ontario to start the ball rolling and issues licenses to these operators, allowing them to take bets legally and advertise real money betting on television, then the upside is that likely there will be more choice for the consumer. More betting companies would be prepared to establish themselves in a regulated market, assuming the conditions are not too prohibitive, than there are those who want to operate in a grey market where the future can be less certain.
For those players who have shied away from the offshore brands because of their ‘grey’ status, having these operators under Canadian license would be a positive change. Generally these casino sites offer a wider choice of games and a better range of incentives than their Canadian state-run rivals, as the marketing departments are very adept at acquiring and retaining players, having honed their skills in the hugely competitive markets like the UK.
Better consumer choice can only be a good thing, but what about the operators? How would they fare in a new regulated environment? Regulation brings the downside of taxation which would likely be in the region of 15% to 20% of Gross Gaming Revenue. And also more hoops to jump through as regulators attempt to tackle the issue of problem gambling. However, some may believe that operating with a limited number of other licensed businesses would signal a more stable future in the Canadian market and they are welcoming the change.
We are still in the early stages of regulation of the Canadian gambling market, so we should not expect change to come too quickly. However, the signs are there, and whilst for now it is business as usual, both operators and consumers should be ready for some interesting developments over the next five years.