As sports gambling infiltrates the mainstream, the Dallas Mavericks have hired a former pro gambler.
As states across the country legalize sports betting, pro sports are starting to embrace the possibilities. The NBA has been quick to embrace gambling, which is a credit to commissioner Adam Silver, but the Dallas Mavericks have taken a big step.
According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Zach Lowe, the Mavericks have hired former pro gambler Bob Voulgaris as director of quantitative research and development.
Voulgaris made a living for years betting on NBA games, using analytics, expertise on coaching strategies and the tendencies of referees to make successful wagers. His Twitter handle, which he has used to dispense basketball information, data and opinions, has 144,000 thousand followers.
As someone who cashed out during the internet boom and constantly tries to stay ahead of the curve, it’s no surprise Mavericks owner Mark Cuban wants to embrace new ways of thinking and bring them into the team’s operation. ESPN suggests Cuban will use Voulgaris as a strategic thinker to examine on-court strategy in broad, bigger picture ways.
How Voulgaris’ input, on whatever level it takes shape and is pushed on him, will sit with Mavericks’ head coach Rick Carlisle is an open question right now. But sports has followed other industries into embracing the value of more information, both easy to see and what’s hidden, as a way to analyze and make better decisions. If Carlisle is open to a new perspective, he can follow up by conveying what is ultimately most valuable in what Voulgaris will offer. At first glance, what Voulgaris may bring regarding referee tendencies should be pretty valuable on a game-to-game basis.
The Mavericks might be the first NBA team to bring someone with gambling experience and expertise into the organization, but they probably won’t be the last.