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Sports gambling changing forever: What states, what is new?

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Sports books are expected to start popping up across the country. Getty Images

By Matt Burke, Metro

Cancel that trip to Vegas.

In the very near future you will be able to wager real money on any number of sports – whether it be on your phone or at a local sports book right around the block from where you live. Oh, and you will now be able to do this on the up and up – fully legal.

The Supreme Court wiped out a federal law on Monday that prohibits sports gambling, and it gave individual states in the U.S. the right to legalize betting on sports. Prior to Monday’s ruling, Nevada was the only state in the country where you could bet on a single sporting event.

“This is game-changing. It’s an enormous moment for numerous industries including the major sports leagues in this country,” said Daniel Barbarisi, author of the daily fantasy sports book Dueling with Kings, in an interview with Metro. “Over the next several years, New Jersey and I’d estimate 10 other states will have fully legal sports betting available. Other states will quickly follow suit from there, and then sooner than later it will be half the country. I’d be surprised if it didn’t happen now, honestly. It’s a huge win for the gambling industry.”

In the next two years, the following states are expected to have legal sports gambling available: New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Colorado, West Virginia, Virginia, Connecticut, Delaware, Michigan, Mississippi, Indiana, Ohio and Virginia.

Monday’s ruling was a long time coming, but there was surprisingly little mainstream backlash against the decision, and Barbarisi credits that to a widespread change in thinking regarding gambling in the United States.

“There’s been a sea-change in the way people look at it, and a lot of the daily fantasy sports phenomenon in recent years was a part of that,” Barbarisi told Metro. “People stopped and asked, ‘Hey isn’t this actually sports betting?’ Is this doing any harm?’ It moved the needle to getting things to this point. Of course, anti-gambling groups are not going to be happy about this. Some casino-type operators who have a monopoly over things won’t like it. Lottery operators won’t like it. But on the whole, the country has moved in the direction of, saying, ‘This is OK.’ We’re now very close to having a European model on sports gambling.”

There is expected to be a quick shift from people wagering online with off-shore book makers to legal bookmakers on the internet, and Barbarisi foresees plenty of start-up companies trying to get in on the action. Local run-down horse tracks which currently allow only for off-track horse betting should see a spike as well.

“This is their Holy Grail,” Barbarisi said. “They will see a renaissance from this, though most of this will transition online. A lot of big Vegas companies like MGM, which already has outposts throughout the country, will benefit greatly from this. Daily fantasy sports companies like DraftKings and FanDuel will move into sports betting and essentially become sports books too. They already have databases with millions of users who trust them with their credit card info. They are already fully legal. Offshore books are not legal, and DraftKings and FanDuel are going to leverage that. This is going to be a very competitive space. A lot of companies are going to want to do this.”


Change in culture

Something as simple as watching sports will change for non-gambler as well. In the coming years, expect to see in-game advertising for sports books. In Europe, there are even kiosks outside of sports arenas that give you the opportunity to place a bet on the game you are about to attend.

“A lot of this stuff will depend on the leagues themselves,” Barbarisi told Metro. “The NBA has supported it. But there may be some resistance in advertising. There are no cigarette ads during sporting events because kids are watching. But there are beer commercials. Is advertising for sports gambling OK?”

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