There was a time that the sports media hailed Stern as the media-savvy one but this decree sends all the wrong signals.
He might as well have a free condom program for the refs because refs are just going to visit prostitutes during road trips. We know they're going to so it's better to just pass out freebies for it.
I'd be telling the refs they are already well-compensated for what they do and part of that is to ensure that they aren't tempted to visit places to gamble, knowing the obvious public inference if an NBA ref is spotted at a known gambling business.
Another thing I disagree with is the idea that people will distinguish the difference between refs playing poker in the off-season versus any other time of the year. The refs (of any sport) should not be in a casino for the very purpose that it exposes them to gamblers and what do all gamblers want? Inside info to help to give them an edge on wagering. The ref doesn't actually have to be placing bets to be a dirty ref. Maybe all he needs to do is tell gambling elements which players are hiding an injury or which ones have a particular issue with a certain ref or a certain opponent that is bound to throw them off their game, etc and perhaps get comped at the casino or get a supplement to their paycheck in return. That's all it takes.
Stern and Goodell have both been making Bud Selig look like a paragon of sound judgement lately and that's frightening.