No Longshot: Gamblers Named ‘Most Influential People In Sports Business’ In 2018

Posted By Marc Meltzer on December 17, 2018
Bet on sports in Nevada

The American Sports Gambler is the most influential person in the sports business, according to the SportsBusiness Journal.

Well, that didn’t take long. You’re the best and you’ll probably be the best again next year!

Sports betting expands rapidly

It’s only the beginning as the expansion of sports betting outside of Nevada continues.

In May 2018, the U.S. Supreme Court repealed the Professional Sports and Amateur Protection Act (PASPA) of 1992. Rescinding the federal ban on sports wagering means that states can begin to legalize sports betting.

Even though the fight for legal sports betting started in New Jersey, Delaware was the first state outside of Nevada to take single-game sports wagers. The floodgates then opened and seven more states in the US offer legal sports betting.

There’s already a long list of states that are looking to legalize sports betting next year. In a world where lists mean things, the most influential person(s) in sports media in 2019 will — once again — be the American Sports Gambler. Congrats in advance!

More people important to sports betting

While the gamblers are the most important part of sports betting, there are plenty of people that have helped the expansion around the company.

The SportsBusiness Journal also recognizes a handful of people associated with sportsbook operations and the professional leagues in the US that are helping, at least in part, to help expand sports betting across the country. (Also worth noting that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell landed at No. 3 on this list.)

2. Adam Silver
5. Rob Manfred
10. Gary Bettman
23. Jim Murren
48. Joe Asher

Adam Silver, of the NBA, has been the most outspoken league official on legalizing sports betting. Way back in 2014, he authored an op-ed for the New York Times calling for the legalization of sports betting. It came as no surprise that the NBA became the first league to announce an official gaming partner.

The deal with MGM Resorts Jim Murren (No. 23) was the first deal with a professional sports league and the casino operator, but it wasn’t the last.

MGM Resorts has signed similar deals with Major League Baseball (No. 5 Rob Manfred) and the National Hockey League (No. 10 Gary Bettman).

MGM Resorts currently has sportsbooks operating in Nevada, New Jersey and Mississippi. Their deal with Boyd Gaming could have their sportsbook operations expanding into even more states in 2019 and beyond.

Meanwhile, William Hill’s Joe Asher (No. 48) has taken a different approach to the growing sports betting market across the US. William Hill has signed deals directly with the teams instead of the leagues.

William Hill has deals with the Vegas Golden Knights and the New Jersey Devils. Additionally, the independent sportsbook operator isn’t tied to one casino brand and offer sports betting to the masses at racetracks, casinos, via mobile and through state lottery operations.

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Marc Meltzer

Marc Meltzer grew up on the mean streets of the South Bronx. He's the rare combination of Yankees and Jets fan which explains his often contrarian point of view. Marc is a freelance writer and social media consultant. Writing about steak, booze, gambling and Las Vegas is a tough job but somebody has to do it.

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