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Jimmy Vaccaro has seen just about everything in 40 years of taking money behind the counter at sports books in this gambling city.

Until Monday. He had never seen a day like this.

Sports betting is about ready to explode across the nation Youth Chris Kunitz Jersey , thanks to the collective wisdom of the justices on the Supreme Court. Their ruling that states are now free to offer sports betting means it may soon be as easy to bet a $20 parlay in some states as it is to order pizza on the phone.

Almost as important for some, it also wipes away the final stigma on an industry that Vaccaro has made both his occupation and his life.

”People like me have been waiting 35 years for this to happen,” said Vaccaro, who operates the sports book at the South Point hotel. ”For a 72-year-old bookmaker it’s special in a very personal way.”

No longer can the Roger Goodells of the world fool anyone with their absurd arguments about the evils of betting. No longer can the NCAA hide behind its archaic fears that college students everywhere will be wagering their scholarship money on Notre Dame plus the points.

Sports betting is now a legitimate industry. And it’s about to go nationwide in a big way.

Imagine, if you can, stopping on the way to the Meadowlands to watch the Jets and putting $20 on them to cover the spread. Better yet, how about sitting in the stands and making bets in real time on your phone?

It’s all coming, and soon. By the time the NFL kicks off next season there easily could be sports betting in a handful of states, maybe more.

That didn’t exactly send bookies out dancing in the streets of Las Vegas to celebrate. There’s a lot of work to be done, and a lot of jockeying for position among gambling companies and sports book operators.

Yes, there is money to be made. But who makes it and how the major sports leagues are involved – if at all – will be a contentious battle over the coming months.

”It’s a gigantic step but there are so many more issues still to be handled,” Vaccaro said.

No one is certain just how big sports betting will become. Estimates of the betting market in the United States are mostly just guesses because no one really knows how many people like to bet or how much they will end up wagering, though for perspective Nevada books took in $4.87 billion last year.

One thing that is certain is that if sports betting is regulated like it is in Nevada, it poses no threat to sports leagues or their products.

”Sports betting has always had this dark cloud over it,” said Jay Kornegay, who runs the sports book at the Westgate Las Vegas. ”A lot of people associate it with organized crime, but over the last couple of years the climate has really changed dramatically. That dark cloud has been lightened, and could soon go away.”

Monday’s ruling set off a string of reactions from major sports leagues Adidas Patrice Bergeron Jersey , with both the NBA and NFL saying they would go to Congress to push for a federal law regulating betting. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has said for several years betting should be legalized and regulated, but it’s new territory for the NFL, which has been adamant that sports betting threatens the integrity of its games.

Then again, if there’s a profit to be made, the NFL doesn’t want to be left behind. The pro leagues have in recent months been angling for a piece of the profits with a so-called ”integrity” tax to protect their sports.

The integrity tax, of course, is little more than an attempt to extort money from bookmakers and bettors alike. There is no integrity problem – and no integrity tax – in sports betting in Nevada, where every dollar is watched closely and every point spread is tracked in casinos across town.

”It’s a tightly run ship in Las Vegas,” Kornegay said. ”It’s confusing to me that we haven’t seen more inquiries from other jurisdictions on how to regulate betting. They should understand how the books in Nevada operate.”

Kornegay pointed out – and rightfully so – that sports books aren’t exactly licensed to print money. They operate on small margins – with just a 5.1 percent hold in Nevada last year – and can actually lose money if they get on the wrong side of the action in any particular game.

No one feels sorry for the bookies when that happens, and that won’t change. But almost everything else will in an industry that has succeeded despite the best efforts of the sports leagues to shut it down.

Thanks to the Supreme Court, legal sports betting is coming to a state near you.

And that’s something you can bet on.

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Tim Dahlberg is a national sports columnist for The Associated Press. Write to him at tdahlberg(at)ap.org or The St. Louis Cardinals have struggled to get that one big hit they have needed recently, particularly during a three-game weekend sweep by Atlanta.

Yadier Molina came through early in a key situation, sparking the Cardinals to a play-from-ahead victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Molina hit a two-run single in the first inning and homered, helping the Cardinals end a four-game losing streak with a 6-3 win over the Diamondbacks on Monday night.

”Yadie comes through and he’s got a knack for that and has for a long time,” Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. ”Then the other guys just kept coming.”

The Cardinals played from behind most of their series against the Braves, but jumped on the Diamondbacks early.

Molina hit a two-run single in the Cardinals’ four-run first inning against Robbie Ray (3-1) and hit his 12th homer off the Arizona left-hander in the sixth.

Jedd Gyorko also homered and had two RBIs to end Ray’s nine-game winning streak, dating to last season.

Martinez (5-4) allowed two runs on six hits and lined a double. Bud Norris worked a perfect ninth for his 16th save in 18 chances.

”We really wanted to come here and win the first one,” Molina said. ”We had a good plan against their pitcher and we executed it.”

Paul Goldschmidt had four hits and an RBI for the Diamondbacks Pernell McPhee Color Rush Jersey , who were not able to overcome the early deficit for their fourth straight loss.

”We got too far behind too early to play catch up,” Arizona manager Torey Lovullo said.

Martinez snapped a three-game losing streak his last start, holding Cleveland to two runs on six hits in six innings. The right-hander was staked to a four-run lead before taking the mound and gave up Jake Lamb’s run-scoring single in the bottom half.

Goldschmidt lined a run-scoring single in the fifth inning off Martinez, who struck out seven.

”We talk about being sharp in the first inning and I thought he was,” Matheny said. ”He still had a couple things happen in a hurry, but he did a great job of limiting the damage.”

Ray returned from the DL (strained right oblique) to throw six scoreless innings in a 2-1 win over Miami on Wednesday.

The Arizona left-hander had a shaky start to his second post-DL outing, allowing four runs on five hits in the first inning.

Ray struck out six while retiring 12 of the next 13 hitters before Molina and Gyorko connected on consecutive solo homers to put the Cardinals up 6-2 in the sixth inning.

Ray allowed six runs on nine hits in five innings in his 100th career appearance.

””I felt like I was making my pitches,” Ray said. ”They were just putting good swings on them.”

LOVULLO AND MOLINA

Lovullo and Molina nearly came to blows the last time their teams met in April after the Diamondbacks manager uttered a profanity Molina thought was directed at him while arguing with an umpire. Molina charged Lovullo during the argument and both were suspended a game for their actions.

Lovullo said the profanity was not directed at Molina after the April game and met with the Cardinals catcher during batting practice on Monday to patch things up.

”Everything is in the past,” Molina said. ”I have a bunch of respect for him and the organization, so everything is good.”

POLLOCK RETURNS

The Diamondbacks got a huge boost before the game, when center fielder A.J. Pollock was reinstated from the 10-day disabled list. The former All-Star had been out since May 14 with a broken left thumb and wasn’t expected to be back so soon, but was in the lineup batting fourth.

Pollock finished 0 for 4 and scored a run.

CARDINALS MOVES

The Cardinals place OF Dexter Fowler on paternity leave so he could be with his wife, Aliya, for the birth of their second child. St. Louis recalled rookie OF Tyler O’Neill from Triple-A Memphis to fill his roster spot. O’Neill started in right field and batted third, going 1 for 4.

TRAINER’S TABLE

Diamondbacks 2B Ketel Marte returned as a replacement in the seventh inning after missing Sunday’s game to a right hamstring cramp suffered Saturday against San Francisco.

UP NEXT

Diamondbacks RHP Zack Greinke is 12-5 with a 3.42 ERA and 102 strikeouts in 19 career games against the Cardinals headed into Tuesday’s game. He’ll face RHP Jack Flaherty, who will be making his first career start against Arizona.