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Sports betting has been a hot topic over the last few days, and now Cleveland Cavaliers coach J.B. Bickerstaff is sounding off on the conversation. During pregame media availability Wednesday night as the Cavaliers were set to take on the Heat, Bickerstaff talked about his own experience with sports betting and how he believes it has gone too far.

"There's no doubt about it that it's crossed the line," Bickerstaff said. "The amount of times I'm standing up there and we may have a 10-point lead and the spread is 11 and people are yelling at me to leave the guys in so we can cover the spread, it's ridiculous. But again, I understand the business side of it, the nature of the business of it, but it is something that I believe has gone too far."

Bickerstaff went on to detail his personal experience with sports bettors who have found his information and sent him messages over losing bets.

"I personally have had my own instances with some of the sports gamblers, where they got my telephone number, were sending me crazy messages about where I live, and my kids and all that stuff," Bickerstaff said. 

"So it is a dangerous game and a fine line that we're walking for sure. It brings added pressure, a distraction to the game that can be difficult for players, coaches, referees, and everybody that's involved in it. I think 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 it does carry weight. A lot of times, people who are gambling, this money pays their light bill or pays 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's comments come after Pacers guard Tyrese Haliburton spoke on the topic earlier this week. Haliburton responded to a general question asking if he's ever talked to a sports psychologist to talk through things, to which he specifically pointed out how many people only care about how much money he can make them on sports bets.

"Not everybody cares to hear how we feel. To half the world, I'm just helping them make money on DraftKings or whatever," Haliburton said. "I'm a prop. That's what my social media mostly consists of."

Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra detailed a specific incident with a sports gambler that happened last year during a game. Someone had to be removed for being so upset over Victor Oladipo not taking an open 3-pointer at the end of the game.

"I do think it's somewhat contradictory," Spoelstra said Wednesday night. "I think it treads on a weird line. We had an incident behind our bench last year with [Victor] Oladipo. Somebody was screaming. Security had to take him away. The game was already over, and evidently, he didn't shoot an open 3-pointer at the end of the game. The game was already decided, and this fan was totally beside himself, and he was a gambler. He had money on whatever the score was. There's just a lot of unintended consequences with that from a security standpoint that I'm not sure everybody totally understood."

There's been a wave of legalizing sports betting in many states over the years, and it's now legal in 38 states in addition to Puerto Rico and Washington, D.C. According to USA Today, four NBA teams have sportsbooks inside the arenas as of September 2023. That allows fans to place bets while inside the arena, providing a new stream of revenue for the teams and arenas.

Beyond just the sportsbooks inside arenas, the NBA has long been rumored to be interested in starting a franchise in Las Vegas, the epicenter of gambling, which would only heighten the conversation. But despite the increasing acceptance of sports gambling, it's clear that coaches and players in the league are a little hesitant about its place in the NBA. 

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