Former MLB Commissioner Fay Vincent Believes Legalized Sports Gambling Coming to U.S. Soon
Former Major League Baseball commissioner Fay Vincent says he believes legalized sports gambling will be soon coming to the United States. In a letter to the editor of the New York Times last month, Vincent says he believes the soon-to-come legalization of sports betting in the U.S. is the primary reason sports franchises have exploded in value, especially over the last 15 years.
Marlins Sale as an Example
Vincent was responding to an article detailing Jeffrey Loria’s attempts to sell the Miami Marlins. Loria initially listed the sale price as $1.6 billion but has since slashed it to $1.2 billion. Loria purchased the team for just $158 million back in 2002.
In his letter, Vincent said about the NYT story, “[the story] doesn’t report the possibility that legal betting on all major sports is not far off. The anticipated flood of revenue to baseball team owners may explain the price being asked, $1.2 billion.”
In an interview with ESPN, Vincent explained his logic, “I know that [gambling] is precisely why these prices are going up,” Vincent told ESPN in a phone interview this week. “I’ve been really astonished and can’t believe, with the amount of money that’s going to flow to sports if gambling is permitted, that it’s not a subject of interest. And no one seems to be paying attention.”
New Jersey Appeal
Vincent believes the Supreme Court’s decision in June to hear an appeal from New Jersey could be a massive case that determines whether sports betting will get the green light for legalization elsewhere in America. New Jersey is attempting to legalize sports gambling in its casinos and race tracks, and Vincent believes the state has a very good chance at winning their appeal. Back in 2012, the NCAA, NBA, NFL, NHL, and MLB sued New Jersey governor Chris Christie for his efforts to legalize sports gambling in his state.
Oral arguments in the case are expected to begin later this year, and a decision should come down sometime in the spring of 2018.
Vincent Formerly Opposed Betting
Sports betting in the United States has been largely limited to Nevada since the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) was passed in 1992. While he was commissioner of baseball, Vincent testified in favor of PASPA at the time. This occurred soon after the Pete Rose gambling saga, and Vincent was adamant that state-sponsored sports betting should not spread into the rest of the country.
“In those days, we were very adamant against betting, because we had just been dealt and were dealing with the Pete Rose case,” Vincent said. “We saw the risks and the danger of corruption, and we saw that the mafia was involved in some of the things we investigated. It’s dangerous, and it’s still dangerous. But I think the American public wants to bet, and it’s already betting.”
Even though it’s illegal in most of the country, the American Gaming Association estimates that about $150 billion is wagered on sports on a yearly basis in the U.S. Some believe the AGA is underestimating the number and that it is actually much closer to $400 billion. However, it’s tough to verify the number considering most sports betting goes on at offshore sportsbooks and with local bookies.
Legalization Gaining Steam
Vincent added that he does not like gambling, but he understands the push for legalization that has gained steam over the last few years.
NBA commissioner Adam Silver and Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban are among those that have already stated publicly that they support the legalization of sports gambling in the United States. Vincent added that he believes the way the NBA and MLB have invested in daily fantasy sports could be used as a model for how pro sports leagues would help regulate sports betting.
“I don’t know how the feds or the states are going to act, but the money will come to the leagues one way or another,” Vincent said. “It will go to the teams. The unions are going to want a cut of it. The amount of money is going to mean enormous increases in players’ compensation, and officials, too; I mean the entire sporting world is going to benefit enormously.”
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