It’s just been revealed that Maverick Carter, business manager of Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James, revealed that he had placed wagers with an illegal bookie in the past. This news comes at a time in which legal sports betting is growing across the U.S., with wagering increasingly becoming more secure. Interestingly, James himself has come out in favor of launching an NBA team in Las Vegas while considering ownership.
Maverick Carter Admitted To Betting With An Illegal Bookmaker in 2021
ESPN has just reported that in 2021 Lebron James’ business manager Maverick Carter revealed to federal agents that he had used an illegal bookmaker to bet on NBA games. This resulted from an investigation into Wayne Nix in which Carter was not the focus. Carter has been James’ business manager since 2006, and also acts as CEO of SpringHill Company.
Over a year, it was reported that Carter placed around 20 bets on basketball and football games. The amounts of these wagers were generally around $5,000 to $10,000. However, Carter admitted having no memory of wagering on Los Angeles Lakers games and not placing bets for other individuals.
It’s important to note that Maverick Carter isn’t affiliated with the National Basketball Association. Currently, NBA rules forbid league and team officials, as well as players, from betting on games. This means that business managers aren’t currently prohibited from betting on NBA matchups.
Growth Of Legal Sports Betting Reduces Risks
One interesting takeaway from LeBron James’ response to the situation. James said that, “Maverick’s his own man and at the end of the day, gambling is legal…I mean, you can go on your phone right now and do whatever you want.” And the four-time MVP has a point, as mobile sports betting is now legal in 26 states across the U.S., with North Carolina sports betting expected to launch in 2024.
However, plenty of major states still lack access to mobile or even retail sports betting, such as California, the home state of the Los Angeles Lakers. Plenty of other big states could have potentially massive betting markets, such as Texas and Georgia still lack online wagering.
The argument could definitely be made that, by having secure legal betting sites available across the U.S., these types of situations could be avoided. The legal risks of betting with unauthorized bookmakers, as well as the lack of security with offshore sportsbooks, are definitely reasons for states to consider launching legal betting markets.
LeBron James Eyes Owning A Vegas NBA Team
LeBron James has plenty of business ventures, including investments in Fenway Sports Group and Beats By Dre. However, the star player is also looking to own an NBA team, specifically focusing on Las Vegas. James has specifically said that it “makes sense” to launch an NBA team in the state considering the growing popularity of local sports teams.
Las Vegas is now a major city when it comes to professional sports teams. The Vegas Golden Knights played their inaugural season in 2017-18, losing in the Stanley Cup Finals in their very first year. Following a purchase by MGM Resorts International, the Las Vegas Aces played their first season in Nevada in 2018 and has won two titles since then.
The now-Las Vegas Raiders began playing in the city in 2020, and the Oakland A’s are in the midst of a relocation to Las Vegas as well. At this point, an NBA team in Sin City is seeming more like an inevitability, and James having an ownership stake wouldn’t be a surprise.