March 21, 2024 3 min read


Cavs’ J.B. Bickerstaff Discloses Gambling-Related Threats

The coach admitted to receiving threats by gamblers, spoke about the negative impact of betting on sports and asked for protection of everyone involved in sports

Since 2018, legal sports betting has been expanding across the United States rapidly. To date, nearly 40 US states offer some form of betting, allowing sports aficionados and bettors alike to engage in the activity through legal means. But while betting provides economic stimulus for states and grants fans a legal way to wager, fears about the impact of the activity continue to mount. Besides the integrity of professional and collegiate sports, betting can also create challenges related to the security and well-being of athletes, coaches and other sports staff.

It is not uncommon for disgruntled bettors to post threats or negative comments via social media when losing a bet. There have been a number of cases over the last year alone, sadly, the malpractice continues and affects the well-being of athletes, coaches and other people involved in sports. This is precisely the case of J.B. Bickerstaff, the coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers, who recently admitted to receiving threats by fuming gamblers.

In an interview released by the Associated Press, the coach spoke about the impact of betting on sports, adding that it “brings added pressure” and represents a “distraction” that doesn’t only affect players but coaches and referees as well. Many states currently offer in-play betting. While such markets provide engaging entertainment for bettors, Bickerstaff said that sports leagues need to be “careful how close” betting gets to the game. He added that the security of everyone involved in sports must be ensured.

The Coach Received Threatening Messages

Last year, the Cavaliers joined forces with Caesars Entertainment. The deal resulted in the opening of Caesars Sportsbook at the team’s home, Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse. Even at that time, Bickerstaff was cautious about betting, saying that while the activity would boost the team’s finances, fans and athletes should be careful of the “dark side” of betting.

During the recent interview, the coach said that he unwantedly had encounters with some sports bettors. Bickerstaff admitted to receiving threats by gamblers, saying that they sent him “crazy messages, about where I live, my kids and all that stuff.” Moreover, the coach said: “It (betting) is a dangerous game and a fine line that we are walking, for sure.”

Bickerstaff revealed that oftentimes people who are gambling pay their rent and bills with such money, adding that there’s an emotion that comes with that. Finally, he said that it is imperative for everyone involved in sports to be protected.


William Velichkov is a research-driven writer. His strengths lie in ensuring factual accuracy, vetting government documentation and reaching out to regulators and other officials. He is particularly fond of financial reporting, the sports betting industry, B2B partnerships and esports betting developments. William is a strong asset to the GamblingNews team as he adds a bedrock to our reporting.

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