MLB Commissioner Manfred Acknowledges League’s Reluctance Towards Legalized Sports Betting, Emphasizes Integrity Measures

Home » MLB Commissioner Manfred Acknowledges League’s Reluctance Towards Legalized Sports Betting, Emphasizes Integrity Measures

The landscape of recreational sports gambling continues to evolve, firmly establishing itself as a mainstream aspect of sports fandom alongside iconic traditions such as NCAA tournament brackets and fantasy sports leagues. Major League Baseball (MLB), in particular, finds itself navigating this evolving terrain, seeking to balance fan engagement with maintaining the integrity of the sport.

Manfred’s Response to Shifting Stances:

Amidst recent scandals, including the Shohei Ohtani interpreter controversy and issues within the NBA and college sports, MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred addressed questions regarding the league’s stance on gambling during the 2024 Associated Press Sports Editors Commissioners Meetings. Specifically, concerns were raised regarding prop bets, where fans can bet on individual outcomes, potentially compromising player integrity.

“We’ve been on prop bets from the very beginning. When we lobby in states, there’s always certain types of bets that we have lobbied against — I mean, the first pitch of the game, we really don’t want that available as a prop bet,” Manfred emphasized, according to CBS Sports.

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Reflecting on recent scandals, Manfred reiterated MLB’s commitment to integrity and highlighted the league’s robust integrity and compliance measures. While players are permitted to gamble on other sports legally, strict regulations prohibit any form of gambling on diamond sports, including baseball and softball.

Manfred underscored the importance of MLB’s integrity system, citing instances such as the University of Alabama baseball scandal as evidence of its efficacy in detecting and addressing suspicious gambling activities.

Legalization and Monitoring:

Manfred acknowledged MLB’s involvement in the legal battle surrounding sports gambling legalization, emphasizing the advantages of legalized betting in terms of monitoring and oversight.

“We were kind of dragged into legalized sports betting as a litigant in a case that ended up in the Supreme Court,” Manfred noted. “Having said that, I recognize — probably better today than when we were involved in that litigation — that one of the advantages of legalization is it’s a heck of a lot easier to monitor what’s going on than it is with an illegal operation.”

While acknowledging the inevitability of MLB’s involvement in legalized sports betting, Manfred emphasized the league’s commitment to protecting the integrity of the game. Despite the challenges posed by the proliferation of sports gambling, Manfred expressed confidence in MLB’s ability to navigate this evolving landscape while upholding its core principles.

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As sports gambling continues to permeate the mainstream, MLB remains vigilant in its efforts to safeguard the integrity of the sport and ensure a fair and transparent playing field for athletes and fans alike.

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