SportsBusiness Journal on Monday released its annual list of the most influential people in sports business for 2018.

At the top of the list sits “The American Sports Gambler,” a nod to the massive new consumer base that for decades had been mostly off limits to U.S. companies in every state but Nevada. 

The American Sports Gambler beat out NBA commissioner Adam Silver (No. 2) and NFL commissioner Roger Goodell (No. 3) as the most influential in sports business for the year. 

LeBron James was the most influential athlete, coming in at No. 15, just behind Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones (No. 13) and New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft (No. 14).

When the U.S. Supreme Court cleared the way for states to legalize sports betting in May, the pro sports establishment not only accepted the ruling, it embraced it. The NBA, NHL and MLB landed eight-figure deals with MGM Resorts. William Hill signed up to sponsor two NHL teams. The deal pipeline is flowing, with loads more to come

Gambling has been going on illegally forever, and much like Marijuana, the flood gates are about to be open. 

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