Legal Sports Report

Report: MLB Wants Spring Training Betting Banned In Nevada, NJ, PA

MLB spring training betting

Major League Baseball doesn’t want betting on spring training games in several states.

MLB is asking that games be taken off the board at Nevada sportsbooks, as first reported by David Purdum (full story here).

More than just Nevada sports betting?

Nevada is not the only place where such a request was made. It has also come in Pennsylvania:

And Legal Sports Report has learned that the New Jersey Department of Gaming Enforcement that a similar request has been made in NJ. Here’s the Office of the Attorney General in a statement:

Our Division of Gaming Enforcement has received a letter from Major League Baseball seeking the rescission of wagering on its spring training baseball games.  The request is under review.

Many of the NJ sportsbooks started taking action on MLB games as soon as spring training began.

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 would 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. If it isn’t making requests through the means available to it now, it would be difficult to ask for that power moving forward.

It’s not clear why MLB only now made the 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. It is the first time those bets have been booked in other states.

Dustin Gouker
- Dustin Gouker has been a sports journalist for more than 15 years, working as a reporter, editor and designer -- including stops at The Washington Post and the D.C. Examiner.
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