MLB Enters Sports Betting Market

baseball pitcher

Major League Baseball (MLB) has become the third major US professional league to form a relationship with the sports betting market.

On Tuesday, the MLB revealed that it had signed a deal with MGM Resorts International, following the NBA and the NHL in embracing the new sports betting industry that was legalized by the Supreme Court in May this year.

The move by the MLB is particularly significant, given that the sport of baseball has had a long history of negative involvements with gambling, including the 1919 Black Sox scandal and the Peter Rose controversy. Speaking about the announcement yesterday, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said that the history of gambling in the MLB had been a factor in discussions over their decision, but that he was satisfied that the league would be strong enough to protect the sport’s reputation:

I think we have ensured ourselves on the integrity front by updating our policies, making clear what employees can and cannot do on the one hand.”

He added that MLB had set out rules for the type of gambling-related commercial activities that would be permitted by the clubs, and that the integrity of the sport was paramount.

Policy Changes

Manfred was unable to give details of the policies that had been agreed in relation to betting, but that the general outlines of the changes had been explained to owners earlier this month. The current rules already prevent players, umpires, league and team employees from making any bets on MLB games, and it seems likely that those rules are likely to be tightened up in future.

Under the terms of the deal, MGM will be given access to official statistics from MBL, and will have a presence at some MLB events, while the MLB will hope to benefit from increased fan engagement and higher indirect income through sponsorship and other opportunities.

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