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The United States Supreme Court delivered a historic decision Monday morning,. The Supreme Court voted 7-2 in favor of striking down the ban.
Long story short, Monday's ruling allows states to pass their own sports betting laws. It will take some time for those laws to be put into place -- New Jersey, which brought the case to the Supreme Court, is the state most ready to jump into action right now -- but the road has been paved.
Major League Baseball issued the following statement following Monday's ruling:
"Today's decision by the United States Supreme Court will have profound effects on Major League Baseball. As each state considers whether to allow sports betting, we will continue to seek the proper protections for our sport, in partnership with other professional sports. Our most important priority is protecting the integrity of our games. We will continue to support legislation that creates air-tight coordination and partnerships between the state, the casino operators and the governing bodies in sports toward that goal."
MLB has a long and complicated history with sports betting. What does Monday's ruling mean for the league? Here are four things to know.
It'll be much easier to bet on baseball now
Casual gamblers who wish to place legal bets on MLB here and there will no longer have to travel to Nevada, currently the only state with legalized sports gambling, to do so. They'll soon be able to bet right in their home state. Folks who bet on sports heavily were doing that already, either legally or illegally. They already had plenty of gambling options available to them. Now they have more.
More than anything, Monday's ruling paves the way for those who wish to place occasional legal bets on baseball to do so without leaving home. In fact, it's possible we'll see betting lines referenced during broadcasts down the road, bringing gambling on baseball closer to home than ever.
MLB wants a cut
For years and years the various sports leaguers vehemently opposed legalized gambling, for fairly obvious reasons. The Black Sox Scandal and Pete Rose are black marks on MLB history. The leagues have changed their tune within the last year or so, however, one they realized they could potentially profit from gambling.
MLB and the National Basketball Association have most actively lobbied states in an effort to craft favorable sports betting laws. The various sports leagues are seeking a one percent "integrity fee," meaning one percent of the total amount wagered would be payable to the applicable league. Bet on baseball and one percent of your wager goes to MLB, basically. One percent doesn't sound like much, but it is a lot of money.
Not surprisingly, states have pushed back against an integrity fee. Brent Johnson of NJ.com had an update last month:
But legislative leaders have balked at the leagues' request for a fee, three sources with knowledge of the situation told NJ Advance Media. One source called the proposal "laughable."
New Jersey leaders aren't happy the leagues are asking for a cut when Las Vegas -- where sports wagering is allowed -- gives no revenue, sources said. They are also not pleased that the leagues want a say in how the state writes regulations
Johnson adds MLB has been willing to discuss a lower integrity fee, including as low as 0.25 percent. But again, that is still a lot of money. The sports leagues argue they are providing the product, and therefore deserve a cut of any profit made off that product.
It is worth noting that in some other countries, including France and Australia, pro sports leagues do receive a percentage of profits from bets made on their sports. MLB and the other leagues are not asking for something that is unprecedented.
The players want a cut too
Soon after the Supreme Court's ruling was handed down, MLB Players' Association executive director Tony Clark issued a statement calling for future sports betting laws to protect the integrity of the game.
That's all well and good -- protecting the integrity of the game is of paramount importance to all sports leagues -- but just last month, the MLBPA released a joint statement with the unions of the other three major North American sports more or less saying they want a piece of the pie too.
"Given the pending Supreme Court decision regarding the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PAPSA), representatives of the MLBPA, NBPA, NFLPA and NHLPA have been working together on the legal, commercial, practical, and human consequences of allowing sports betting to become mainstream. The time has come to address not just who profits from sports gambling, but also the costs. Our unions have been discussing the potential impact of legalized gambling on players' privacy and publicity rights, the integrity of our games and the volatility on our businesses. Betting on sports may become widely legal, but we cannot allow those who have lobbied the hardest for sports gambling to be the only ones controlling how it would be ushered into our businesses. The athletes must also have a seat at the table to ensure that players' rights and the integrity of our games are protected."
MLB wants a cut because baseball is the product people are betting on. The MLBPA wants a cut because the players make baseball what it is, so they're entitled to a portion of any revenue derived from the game.
You can count on one thing: The profit from legalized betting on baseball will be a major negotiating point when the time comes for MLB and the MLBPA to work out a new collective bargaining agreement in 2021.
Does this mean Pete Rose will have a chance at the Hall of Fame?
Uh, no. It is still very much against the rules for MLB players and staff to bet on baseball, and it will continue to be against the rules going forward The league is not going to give players and staff the green light to bet on baseball just because the Supreme Court ruling paves the way for all states, not just Nevada, to offer legal sports betting.
Rose was banned from baseball in 1989 amid reports he bet on baseball as a manager (), and he has applied for reinstatement several times, . In fact, . The Supreme Court's ruling does not exonerate Rose. He broke MLB's rules -- rules that still exist and will continue to exist -- and he agreed to the lifetime ban in an exchange for the league making no formal finding with regard to the gambling allegations. Monday's ruling doesn't change any of that.