According to a report from ESPN Chalk, Major League Baseball doesn’t want betting on spring training games in at least one state.
MLB is asking that games be taken off the board at Nevada sportsbooks, according to David Purdum (full story here).
Major League Baseball has submitted a request to Nevada Gaming Control to prohibit betting on spring training games at the state’s sportsbooks. Details of NGC’s response are not immediately available, but a source indicates gaming control will decline the request.
— David Payne Purdum (@DavidPurdum) February 26, 2019
More than just Nevada sports betting?
It’s not clear if Nevada is the only place where such a request was made. Legal Sports Report has asked the New Jersey Department of Gaming Enforcement if a similar request has been made. Many of the NJ sportsbooks started taking action on MLB games as soon as spring training began.
The long winter is over. Baseball returns today and #DKSportsbook is carrying Spring Training games🙌 pic.twitter.com/zNCc1iSOY2
— DraftKings Sportsbook (@DKSportsbook) February 21, 2019
The BetLucky app in West Virginia also shows odds for MLB spring training games. Several other states — including Delaware, Rhode Island and Mississippi –also have legal sports wagering.
Why is MLB making the ask?
MLB has been made its opinion known that it fears manipulation of its games in the wake of the fall of the federal sports betting ban last year. The fact that minor league players are often taking part in spring training games might make the games subject to manipulation for betting purposes, the argument likely goes.
Limits for betting on spring training games, however, are often pretty low, and a large bet on an exhibition game was quickly raise some eyebrows at any sportsbook.
For more than a year MLB has also been asking for sports betting legislation that allows sports leagues to have veto power on the types of bets. Here’s an example from last year.
It’s not clear why MLB only now made this request in Nevada, or if it had made similar requests in the past. This is not the first year that betting on spring training has been available via the state’s sportsbooks.
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