January 3, 2023 3 min read


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Cavs Coach Bickerstaff Cautious about Betting’s ‘Dark Side’

Sports betting to present the Cavaliers with new sources of income but will also pose challenges that will need proper management

Sports betting will “put a bump in the finances for everybody,” but will require more education to avoid fans and athletes fall victim to its dark side, believes Cleveland Cavaliers coach J.B. Bickerstaff.

Bump on Finances

The Cavaliers, in partnership with Caesars Entertainment, opened Caesars Sportsbook inside their home Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse just a day after Ohio officially launched wagering on sports on January 1, 2023, and Bickerstaff reflected on the opportunities and challenges presented by sports betting to The News-Herald.

“I do think it’s something that moving forward we’re going to have to spend more time on educating ourselves and all of our guys because we know the downside or the dark side of it,” he said, asking everyone at the team to be careful as “there are so many things that can lead to trouble” despite looking innocent.

He then gave an example involving a situation in which a sports fan walking along the street recognizes him and asks him about the involvement of a doubtful player – a situation in which if he is not careful enough may breach the NBA gambling rules if providing an answer as that guy may turn the information into a wager and that wager will be related to him.

Bickerstaff then added that he is not against sports betting but it needs “to be managed properly and people need to be educated about it” as it will respond to the need of fans for more than sports while providing the Cavs with an additional source of finances.

Laying Trust on the League

On the integrity of the sport, Bickerstaff is looking to the NBA, convinced that “they’re not going to do anything to compromise the integrity of this league,” having “full trust and confidence in that.”

Ahead of the official market launch, Ohio launched “Pause Before You Play,” a responsible gambling campaign based on the “Get Set Before You Bet” problem gambling education program previously led by Ohio For Responsible Gambling.

Opened across two stories, Caesars Sportsbook inside Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse will operate seven days a week, 362 days per year, serving visitors not only during the home games of the Cavs but also during events at the arena such as concerts, pro wrestling or Disney on Ice.

With access from both the arena and from the street, Caesars Sportsbook is expected to attract ardent gamblers in Cleveland, as well as casual sports fans willing to drop a small wager, and the first five months of 2023 are looking promising with a busy sports calendar comprising NFL playoffs, March Madness and Cavaliers games.

Caesars Sportsbook is one of 13 retail sports wagering venues, alongside 16 digital operators authorized to offer wagering on sports in the state that is promising to become one of the largest sports betting markets nationwide.

Lead Author

With 4 years experience as an analyst, Julie—or ‘Jewels’, as we aptly refer to her in the office—is nothing short of a marvel-worthy in her attention to the forex and cryptocurrency space as she quickly became the first pick to co-pilot education to the masses with Mike.

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