"I don't know how the feds or the states are going to act, but the money will come to the leagues one way or another," Vincent said. "It will go to the teams. The unions are going to want a cut of it. The amount of money is going to mean enormous increases in players' compensation, and officials, too; I mean the entire sporting world is going to benefit enormously."
Former MLB commissioner Fay Vincent said he believes legalized sports gambling is an inevitability that will fundamentally alter sports as we know it.
"I know that [gambling] is precisely why these prices are going up," Vincent told ESPN's David Purdum of the prices of sports franchises. "I've been really astonished and can't believe, with the amount of money that's going to flow to sports if gambling is permitted, that it's not a subject of interest. And no one seems to be paying attention."
Vincent, 79, was MLB's commissioner from September 1989 to September 1992. He's been opposed to the reinstatement of Pete Rose and testified in support of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, which restricted sports gambling to Nevada in 1992.
"In those days, we were very adamant against betting, because we had just been dealt and were dealing with the Pete Rose case," Vincent said. "We saw the risks and the danger of corruption, and we saw that the mafia was involved in some of the things we investigated. It's dangerous, and it's still dangerous. But I think the American public wants to bet, and it's already betting."
Since the institution of PASPA, illegal sports gambling has become rampant across the United States. Underground bookmakers have taken wagers for years, and the proliferation of the internet has made it even easier for fans to gamble. Offshore books and credit card companies have attempted to crackdown on illegal wagering, but anyone with the desire will be able to find a way.
By working to legalize sports gambling, leagues could find a way to share in the revenue generated. Betting kiosks are regular fixtures in sports stadiums across Europe, and the NFL has shut them down whenever it has taken its yearly trips to England.