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Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred is not shy talking about the possibility of legalized sports betting in the US as the sport embarks upon spring training.
Manfred’s comments made it clear that he is not at all dismissive about the possibility of sports wagering becoming legal outside of Nevada in the future.
Manfred appeared on Outside The Lines on ESPN on Friday. He talked about a number of issues confronting the league before the season begins.
Manfred was asked about sports betting, as he has been several times in recent days. Here’s what he said in response to a question about the league’s stance on sports betting.
“We have done some research on how gambling relates to fan engagement. There’s a lot of information for example in Europe where it’s much more common in terms of legalized gambling.
I think from our perspective, from baseball’s perspective, it’s clear there’s a conversation about gambling that’s ongoing. [NBA] Commissioner Adam Silver has been very articulate about posing the issues.
And I think it’s incumbent upon us to make sure we understand what the facts are, what kind of legalized gambling are you talking about, how would it be regulated, what are the threats to the integrity of the sport. And make sure the institution is in a position to deal with whatever roads come down the road.”
Manfred continues to stop short of joining the NBA’s Silver in saying that a government sports should regulate betting in the US.
But his comments continue to point to the idea that his league is open to the idea. His answer on OTL also points to the fact that MLB has done a decent amount of thinking about the topic already.
MLB remains an active plaintiff in the New Jersey sports betting case, however, as that state has tried to circumvent federal law and allow single-game wagering.