First of all, let’s answer the second question to to the two posed above in headline: absolutely nothing.
Betting on sports legally as a gambler – and betting on games you are PLAYING in and MANAGING is completely different. This ruling has no impact on Pete Rose or “Shoeless” Joe Jackson and other members of the 1919 Chicago “Black” Sox.
Okay, with that out of the way, what does the Supreme Court ruling which clears the path for legalized sports gambling mean for baseball?
My best guess is that might end up being a really good thing for baseball. Some of the aspects of baseball which fans don’t like: the long season, the breaks between innings, all the pitches and slow in play; already have second advantages. Advertisers love the long season of live games, the built in breaks for commercials, which is why teams are signing huge television deals which builds empires – and champions.
Now with betting, it might help keep late 20 and 30 year old millennials engaged in the game like never before. Every strike. Single or double. Home run or not. We know people have their smartphones at the game – now they can put $.50 bets on if a 6th inning reliever for the White Sox down 0-10 will throw a strike or ball.
I do like watching the NFL – but not as much as I like watching college football – and when I do watch the NFL I don’t really have a favorite teams since the Chargers left San Diego. Yet – if I have one running back left to go and I need 12 points – I’ll watch the Dolphins slog it out against the Browns on Monday Night Football. I only feel bad about my life and the choices I’ve made if I watch said game and lose the fantasy football matchup…
Of course baseball is a little worried and has concerns: “It’s pretty rare that you have a huge industry that gets unlocked almost all at one time. The conversations about this and the decisions that state legislators and regulators are going to make in the next year and the next few years are going to have significant effects on our game. It’s really important that we get this right.” said MLB’s Bryan Seeley.
There are those who worry about the integrity of the game of course. About the professionals infiltrating locker rooms and the outcomes of games.
Yet to think this doesn’t already happen sometimes is naiive. How many times do we see an over/under made or broken at the last minute? The NBA had a referee arrested a few years back for gambling but claimed he was an isolated incident…I highly doubt it.
If anything – now that gambling as a whole is out in the open – it might be easier to crack down on things. Investigate. Regulate. Clean things up. Instead of having to operate any investigation in the shadows in order not to get people frenzied over the idea of gambling going on – they can investigate open along with all bets being made.
For a sport trying so hard to expand its audience, with the right policies and strategy, I believe legalized, expanded gambling can be great for baseball. What do you think?