The baseball league may be open to gambling now, but don’t bet on Pete Rose getting into the Hall of Fame any time soon.
On Tuesday, Nov. 28, MLB and MGM Resorts International announced the league’s first-ever partnership with a gambling operator and the third U.S. major sports league to make a deal MGM Resorts following agreements the NBA in June and the NHL in October.
“We are pleased to partner with MGM Resorts International, a clear industry leader in the sports gaming area, to work together on bringing innovative experiences to baseball fans and MGM customers,” said MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred in a joint press conference announcing the deal.
“Our partnership with MGM will help us navigate this evolving space responsibly, and we look forward to the fan engagement opportunities ahead.”
That leaves the NFL as the last remaining of the four U.S. major sports leagues that have not agreed to a gambling partnership
In baseball circles, gambling on the game had a negative connotation surrounding it due to the Black Sox scandal which saw the team intentionally lose the 1919 World Series and because of Pete Rose betting on games while he was a player and a manager – both incidents led lifetime bans.
The MLB’s long-time stance against gambling seems to be relaxing, likely due to both the federal repeal of PASPA, the law that prohibited states from legalizing sports betting, and suffering both declining attendance and viewership.
“There has been a huge change in public opinion and the whole legal framework surrounding sports gaming and I think it has presented an opportunity for all sports and baseball in particular,” said Manfred.
“Our research is really strong on the idea that sports gaming is an important source of fan engagement and we operate in a competitive environment and we have to take advantage of every opportunity to drive engagement by our fans.”
The partnership will give MGM Resorts the rights to use league and team sponsorships, in-game data, and promotion across MLB-owned broadcasts and events.
When it comes to game data, MLB will allow MGM Resorts to use its official statistics feed “on a non-exclusive basis” across its digital and live sports betting platforms and offering.
However, all enhanced statistical data, outside of normal statistics, of MLB will be made available to MGM Resorts “on an exclusive basis,” including home run distance and velocity leaving the bat, baserunners speed around the bases, and more.
Financial details of the agreement were not disclosed.
In addition, MGM Resorts and MLB vowed to work together to ensure responsible gambling measures are in place and will protect the integrity of the game both on and off the field.