It’s been a minute since we’ve talked about legalized sports gambling here. We should remedy that, because legalized sports gambling is going to be the next gigantic cash cow for professional sports leagues, Major League Baseball included.

First, to get everyone up to speed:

Currently, sports gambling is illegal in every state except Nevada. The statute which outlaws it is the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (PASPA). Since Nevada had legal sports gambling before its passage, it was grandfathered in. They have sports books. No one else does;
Several years ago the State of New Jersey sued, claiming the law was unconstitutional. That case was argued in front of the Supreme Court late last year and a decision will come out no later than June. For reasons too boring to go into here, my gut is that the law will be overturned, opening the door for legalized sports gambling;
A lot of states’ guts feel the same way, so a lot of states are drafting laws to implement and regulate sports gambling so that they can be ready to go soon after PASPA is overturned.
This is where it gets interesting.

For obvious reasons, including but not limited to the Black Sox Scandal and NBA referees throwing games, professional sports have an historic aversion to sports gambling. Indeed, when New Jersey began this push, back in 2012, Bud Selig came out strong against it, filing a lawsuit to oppose the effort.

It recently dawned on sports leagues, however, that there is a lot of money to be made in a legalized sports gambling world. Led by Adam Silver and the NBA, but followed with the fervor of a new convert by Rob Manfred and Major League Baseball, the leagues have done a 180 on this and are now actively lobbying states in an effort to help craft the sports gambling laws.