Ninety-nine years after the Black Sox scandal threatened to destroy Major League Baseball’s credibility and almost 3 decades after Pete Rose ruined his career with his gaming ties, the match is entering a potentially rewarding, thrilling, mysterious and dirty fresh frontier.
The current Supreme Court ruling clearing the way for legalized sports betting throughout the United States has forced the regulating forces in most significant sports to start to take a harder look at the benefits and potential pitfalls of a shifting landscape. Commissioners, lawyers, lobbyists, security personnel and participants from throughout the spectrum are planning to adopt a new reality as individual states determine their level of engagement.
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“This is really a key moment now for baseball and the other sports leagues,” explained Bryan Seeley, MLB’s senior vice president of investigations, compliance and safety. “It’s pretty rare that you’ve got a massive business which gets unlocked almost all at once. The discussions about this and the choices that state legislators and regulators will make in the following year and the next few years are going to have significant effects on our game. It’s really important that people get this right.”
At a time of change, questions abound. While affecting the habits of fans, legal sports betting could be a boon to sports leagues. Between the lines, players can face ethical choices amid concerns about their safety with this much money at stake. Tony Clark, executive director of the MLB Players Association, told ESPN.com that gamers are determined to be involved in the discussion in an atmosphere defined more by”assumptions and insinuations” than unequivocal conclusions.
“As a consequence of the complexities involved here, there’s more doubt than there are answers at this point,” Clark said in an emailaddress. “Interestingly, there has been no debate to date even about the plethora regulatory, security, and equity concerns that have arisen in different sports when gambling becomes widespread.”
The 6-3 ruling of the Supreme Court spawned some inevitable sexy takes. Numerous fans flocked to Twitter and wondered if legalized gambling might pave the way for Rose’s return to baseball or revive his dormant Hall of Fame opportunities. It’s been 29 years since Rose was prohibited by then-commissioner Bart Giamatti for misconduct associated with gaming, and two and a half a year since commissioner Rob Manfred denied his appeal for reinstatement.