Four years later, legalized sports betting keeps spreading

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On May 14, 2018, the United States Supreme Court issued a ruing that, on the surface, the NFL hated. Four years later, the NFL is loving it.

More than 30 states have legalized sports betting since then, including the District of Columbia.

The states in which sports betting programs already exist include Washington, Oregon, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa, Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan, Indiana, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee, North Carolina, West Virginia, Virginia, Pennsylvania, New York, Maryland, D.C., Delaware, New Jersey, Connecticut, and New Hampshire.

Sports betting operations have been authorized but are not yet operational in Ohio, Nebraska, and Maine.

Three of the most populous states — California, Texas, and Florida — have yet to work through the various political machinations needed to legalize it.

Surely, it will continue to spread. For the states, it’s free money that comes from taxation on activities that currently are happening illegally. Pearl-clutching has yielded to the pragmatics of the infusion of cash it can provide to the state’s budget.

The NFL has directly benefited from the dynamic, striking deals with seven sports books. By the end of the decade, the league expects to generate $1 billion from these partnerships. In return, the league merely needs to lend the shield to those companies.

The explosion in legalized gambling also has energized sports media, especially as sports books leverage the ears and eyeballs of those who consume sports content of all kinds into customers.

It continues to be a wild time. My dad, as I wrote on what would have been his 100th birthday, was a bookie. His business thrived because it wasn’t legal. He knew that if it was ever legalized, he’d be shut down in a heartbeat.

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He’d be amazed by how dramatically things have changed, how they’ll continue to change. The floodgates for what’s currently happening and while continue to grow opened exactly four years ago.