NEW YORK — By the end of this year, sports wagering will be legal in more than half the country, and the boom means more than just big business for sportsbook companies. The Gambling Issue of Sports Illustrated, available online and newsstands Aug. 12, examines the rapidly changing and fascinating landscape of mainstream gambling with pieces by senior writers Jon Wertheim, Chris Mannix, and Alex Prewitt. Also inside the issue, Nick Hornby on what the doomed Super League plan says about the state of soccer in England and a history lesson on evolving NFL attitudes towards gambling.

On the Cover

Mainstream gambling is changing everything about the sports experience for fans, athletes and league officials. So how to explain the widespread allure of sports gambling? At every intersection of sports and betting, follow the money, by Jon Wertheim.

Gambling Issue Features

˙ Sports betting: As seen by: Bettors, who are so hungry for action that they’re crossing state lines to find legal action. Athletes, who are now learning to deal with fantasy players’ and bettors’ expectations. Leagues, who are devoting huge resources to ensuring the security of their games. And street bookies, who are still in the shadows but watching their business go mainstream - as told by an anonymous bookmaker.

˙ Spite Clubs: As another English Premier League season approaches, Nick Hornby, the best-selling author of Fever Pitch, looks back at the doomed Super League plan and what it says about the state of soccer in England. On one hand, the Super League’s downfall was a victory for the voice of the common fan. On the other, it revealed some deep truths about the fraying relationship between English fans and their national sport.

˙ How Much Has The NFL Changed? In the 1960s, the league that now embraces gambling and fantasy as part of its business model and essential parts of the fan experience suspended its two biggest stars, Paul Hornung and Alex Karras, for gambling associations. A history lesson in evolving attitudes from Jon Wertheim.

˙ Better Late: Braves Manager Brian Snitker waited 40 years for his shot at running a major league team. That may be why this real-life Crash Davis is having so much success, according to Chris Ballard.

Also in this issue:

Leading Off: The grassroots soul of pro wrestling can be found far from the glitz of WWE, in tiny venues where Georgia Independent Professional Wrestling operates as a model of inclusivity in a sport that has often stifled diversity. Erick Rasco takes us on a photographic tour.

˙ Fantasy Football Preview: Fantasy is booming along with betting, and fantasy expert Michael Fabiano breaks down the Top 100 players you should have on your draft board.

˙ Scorecard: Michael Rosenberg on teams’ new weapon against fans misbehaving: facial recognition technology.

˙ Where the Action is: breaking down the sports gambling business by state revenue, by taxes generated, and other fun by the numbers.

˙ Infographic: Jacob deGrom and the best half-season performances in MLB history.

˙ Game Plan: Mark Bechtel reviews “Tall Men, Short Shorts,” a new book by legendary sportswriter Leigh Montville, “All In,” Billie Jean King’s new memoir, and a Q&A with Ted Lasso’s latest character.

˙ SI Full Frame: Photographer John Iacono tells George Foreman’s tiger tale.

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