Ex-NBA ref predicts legal sports betting will sweep through US

CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - The legalization of sports gambling will happen quickly and be a huge boost for the pro leagues and team owners, according to former NBA referee Tim Donaghy.

"I think it's great," Donaghy told Tony Zarrella exclusively on Overtime Monday night. "It's gonna create a ton more revenue to be split between the players and the owners, it's a billion-dollar-a-year situation and it's gonna benefit the individual cities tax dollar-wise. I think it's a win-win for everybody involved."

Donaghy's ties to the gambling world are well-known; he served 11 months in jail in 2008-09 for his involvement in a betting scandal where he passed on inside information to gamblers, including info on games he officiated.

Donaghy now works with the online site Refpicks.com, which claims to bring "only the best handicappers in the nation to one spot."

He drew an interesting social parallel to Monday's news that sports betting may soon be legal on a state-by-state basis.

"I think you're gonna see a lot of things develop, just like you did when marijuana became legal," he said. "I think that every state is gonna be coming on board rather quickly. You're not only gonna see brick and mortar places open up, you're gonna be able to do different things online, whether you're at the game with different apps people are gonna develop, I think the sky's the limit and I think it's gonna create an enormous amount of wealth for a lot of these team owners."

Donaghy resigned from the NBA in 2007.

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