For sports fans, the U.S. Supreme Court decision Monday that overturns what was essentially a 49-state ban on sports wagering in the United States potentially changes everything.
As a result of the 6-3 ruling in favor of the state of New Jersey and against the federal law passed in 1992 that outlawed most sports wagering everywhere but Nevada, the experience of sports is going to change radically.
Soon, fans in most states of the U.S. are likely going to be able to legally bet on the Cowboys-Redskins or the Bengals-Steelers.
During NBA games, fans might soon be getting texts offering them a chance to wager on things like, "Which player will score the most points in the second quarter?"
As a consumer of sports media, get ready for "The Three Prop Bets Most Likely To Pay Off When Kentucky Faces Tennessee" as your game preview.
Already, Americans' desire to bet on sports is huge. In Nevada, there was $4.8 billion legally wagered with sports books in 2017. The American Gaming Association estimates that $150 billion is bet illegally from the U.S. on sports each year.
Now, thanks to the Supreme Court, each of the 50 states has the green light to try to benefit off what seems an unlimited appetite.
Whether the sports world that will be created as a result of Monday's ruling will be a better one overall is very much up for debate.
As the commonwealth of Kentucky weighs whether to join the states that are expected to be early adapters in the move to legalized sports betting — New Jersey, Delaware, West Virginia and Mississippi — here are some questions I'd like to see credibly answered.
1.) The argument made in favor of all forms of expanded gambling is that it brings economic and tax-base benefits to the locales that adopt it. That seems logical, but how much of the economic activity generated by expanding gambling is actually new and how much is merely a reallocation of spending that would otherwise go to other forms of entertainment?
2.) In societal terms, what has been the actual cost-benefit analysis from our era's already-vastly expanded gambling?
I cited the amount of money reportedly wagered on sports above. Yet promoting an activity that can lead people into compulsion and addiction also carries hidden expenses.
A 2017 story in The New York Times chronicled a growing prevalence of retirement-aged women becoming addicted to casino gambling at devastating costs to their personal finances.
At the opposite end of the age spectrum, a University of North Carolina-Wilmington pamphlet notes that the rate of college students at risk for problem gambling is "two-to-three-times higher than adult rates." It says that approximately six percent of college students are already problem gamblers.
3.) Now that sports gambling seems headed for widespread legality, what is that going to do to the percolating issue of fan anger toward game participants?
If you think University of Kentucky football backers were furious with Mark Stoops after UK turned a 27-14 fourth-quarter lead over Florida into a 28-27 loss to the Gators last year, imagine what it would have been like if 70 percent of the 62,945 fans at Kroger Field had $200 legally bet on the Cats to win?
With all the hell and fury that rained down on referee John Higgins because some Kentucky backers blamed the official for UK's two-point loss to North Carolina in the 2017 NCAA Tournament, imagine how many more fans might have taken to the Internet to abuse the ref if they had legally lost that month's mortgage payment betting on the game?
4.) In a world of legal sports wagering, how will NCAA schools keep their unpaid athletes from being compromised by gamblers?
The darkest point in University of Kentucky sports history came when some of UK's greatest men's basketball players of all time plead guilty in 1952 to shaving points.
Especially if proposition bets — wagers on things not directly tied to the outcome of contests such as "Who will take the first shot in a basketball game?" — become legal, the chances for gamblers to gain influence over today's college players would seem keen.
Conventional wisdom is that the money to be made from legal sports gambling is going to overwhelm any and all reservations in most states.
If so, the sports world as we've known it will be fully transformed.
Unless one owns stock in a gaming company, color me skeptical whether that transformation will be, on net, for the better.
Mark Story: 859-231-3230; Twitter: @markcstory