Basketball Legend Charles Barkley Warns of Betting Encroachment Despite Own FanDuel Deal

  • Barkley has raised concerns centered around bettors wagering on NBA free throws
  • His comments come despite his current role as FanDuel’s brand ambassador
  • Despite his concern, Barkley accepts that the betting industry is now a part of sports
  • Twitter users have questioned Barkley’s comments in light of his own gambling habits
Charles Barkley
NBA legend and FanDuel partner Charles Barkley has caused a stir by issuing a warning about sports betting. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Sports betting overload

Former Philadelphia 76ers star Charles Barkley has warned of a sports betting overload, cautioning that multiple wagering options could lead to obsessive behavior and, potentially, match-fixing.

Speaking at a media event ahead of the American Century golf tournament on Wednesday, the ex-NBA player and Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer said there was “too much” sports betting. His concern centered on the NBA, pointing to free-throw betting in particular – a market he described as “obsessive.”

Yo, I’m going to miss both of these free throws.”

The Alabamian described a scenario in which a player could match fix for one of his friends in the stands. Barkley said if he was taking free throws and he “was a scumbag” then he would look to his friend in the stands and say: “Yo, I’m going to miss both of these free throws.”

Barkley has faced some criticism regarding his comments, with observers noting that the former NBA star has made deals with betting companies in the past, including an ongoing ambassador role with FanDuel.

Veering from the script

Whether Barkley’s fears are legitimate, it’s unusual for a brand ambassador to openly question their company’s industry. FanDuel appointed Barkley back in December 2020, dubbing him ‘Jolly Ol’ Saint Chuck’ at the time.

According to ESPN, Barkley cited an NBA owner who said that in three to five years’ time, the league will make three times what it does today on TV revenue due to the impact of betting. “And when you get to that point, I think it’s really scary,” he explained.

According to research by iSpot.tv., the sports wagering advertising category has racked up a national TV spend of $282m over the most recent nine-month period. The rise in percentage is almost threefold from the prior period. FanDuel has seen the highest share of ad impressions of sportsbooks with 34%.

Despite his grievances, Barkley acknowledged that gambling is now a part of sports that is here to stay. “Like I said,” Barkley concluded: “The toothpaste is out of the tube, and I don’t know how to put it back in.”

Twitter responds

Despite his comments, Barkley has never hidden his enjoyment of gambling. In 2021, he laid down $100,000 on him finishing within the top 70 in the Lake Tahoe golf tournament. The ex-76er finished 76th but got to keep his money anyway.

The backlash against the NBA star’s hypocritical stance has lit up Twitter. For instance, user Jamie Berger pointed out the ex-NBA star’s own relationship with gambling:

Twitter user JMC summed up the mixed messages too: