The National Basketball Association wants you to gamble. Since 2014, the league has championed the legalization of sports betting nationwide, partially due to its own business interests in gambling. But the emergence of online gambling has coincided with a rise in troubling health outcomes like increased rates of depression and substance abuse. Today on Lever Time, we explore the recent growth of online gambling, sitting down with sports writers and an addiction expert to learn how it’s impacted society and changed the very nature of sports and fandom.

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Sports fans are familiar with the companies DraftKings and FanDuel. In the NBA, their commercials are now as synonymous with the game as slam dunks — and both have transformed how viewers watch the game. In 2018, the Supreme Court struck down a federal law prohibiting gambling in most states — within the same year several states swiftly moved to legalize sports gambling, leading to more widespread usage of online sportsbooks. 

Today, millions of fans include betting as part of their viewing experience, but it’s a trend that worries public health experts, athletes, and longtime fans, who believe the NBA’s promotion of gambling will have long-term negative consequences.

You can read a transcript of this episode here

This week on Lever Time Premium, for paid subscribers only, Guardian climate reporter Dharna Noor unpacks Donald Trump’s plans to expand fossil fuel production and sell off key portions of the government’s climate operations if he wins a second term. Click here to listen now.