Cavs coach JB Bickerstaff says gamblers sent him messages about his kids and home

As sports betting has grown into an integrated part of American sports culture, coaches, players, and officials across all sports are starting to feel the pressure and challenges of fans actively gambling on the outcomes of games.

Cleveland Cavaliers head coach JB Bickerstaff was adamant about those challenges and the pressure of coaching during this era of sports betting after the Cavaliers’ loss to the Miami Heat on Wednesday.

“It brings added pressure,” he said. “It brings a distraction to the game that can be difficult for players, coaches, referees, everybody that’s involved in it. And I think that we really have to be careful with how close we let it get to the game and the security of the people who are involved in it.

“Because again, it does carry a weight. A lot of times the people who are gambling like this money pays their light bill or pay their rent, and then the emotions that come from that. So I do think we’re walking a very fine line and we have to be extremely careful in protecting everybody who’s involved.”

Bickerstaff said that gamblers got his phone number and sent him “crazy” messages about where he lives and his kids. Watch his extended comments here.

When it comes to sports and sports betting, it does feel somewhat like America is hitting their Icarus moment rather quickly. It seems like most professional sports leagues weren’t exactly ready for that kind of leap.

Earlier this week, the NBA announced that people with League Pass could live bet on broadcasted games, seeing the lines on the screen and then taking you to FanDuel or DraftKings. This will be an opt-in function, not an opt-out function, but it seems risky.

Bickerstaff is saying what a lot of coaches and players are thinking about sports betting and the pressure it puts on them.

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