HBO Real Sports recently aired a segment on “Sports Betting in Las Vegas”. The piece explores how for decades, professional sports leagues avoided Las Vegas; fearing fans would question the integrity of their games if too closely associated with gambling. It took nearly 20 years, but expansion fees ($500 million for Golden Knights) and public funding ($750 million for Raiders) convinced NHL and NFL owners to enter the market. Now there are indications that the leagues’ stance against gambling is softening; with NBA commissioner Adam Silver openly supported federally regulated legalized sports betting and MLB stating it is willing to re-examine its stance.

Howie Long-Short: The 4 major professional sports leagues and the NCAA have sued to prevent legalized gambling in the State of New Jersey, with the case set to be heard by the Supreme Court next month. The prevailing feeling is that the SCOTUS will vote in NJ’s favor (the NFL and NHL don’t have much of a leg to stand on) and declare that the federal government cannot prohibit its states from authorizing legalized sports gambling. Should that happen, expect several other states to follow NJ’s lead and immediately draft legislation permitting sports betting. As for the leagues, legalized gambling is a golden ticket (estimated $150 billion/year gambled illegally) akin to the dawn of exploding television broadcast rights in the 1990s; it will only increase fan engagement and ultimately the value of their franchises.

Fan Marino: The daily fantasy sports industry generated $327 million in revenue ($3.2 billion in entry fees) between September ’16 and August ’17, down from $350 million the year prior. The novelty of DFS has worn off. That’s not good news for an industry that’s going to be forced to compete with legalized gambling soon. The fall of 2015 seems so long ago.

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