The New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE) denied a request from Major League Baseball (MLB) to NJ sports betting on spring training.
An NJ DGE spokesperson confirmed that the division responded last week to MLB with the denial.
MLB asked New Jersey and other legal sports betting states including Pennsylvania and Nevada to take spring training off the board. Pennsylvania agreed to pull the games while it reviews the request while Nevada refused the ask.
Why spring training games?
Spring training accounts for minimal revenue both in NJ sports betting and throughout the country. MLB’s request therefore appears simply aimed at attempting to gain control of sports betting through a back door.
MLB and its fellow pro sports leagues try a similar approach with state legislators, with little success to date. Their lobbyists ask for the ability to review and restrict certain types of betting.
The NFL proposed retaining control of bet types through its requests for federal sports betting legislation. The Shield recently backed off a bit, though, asking West Virginia legislators only for the ability to consult on such issues.
NJ sports betting on baseball
Garden State bettors enjoyed their first opportunity to bet legally on the diamond. In October 2018, baseball wagering accounted for $153 million in NJ sports betting handle. Casinos held $4.2 million, or 2.8 percent, of those bets.
Those figures could be influenced by the reported influx of New Yorkers coming across the Hudson River to wager. The New York Yankees won the AL Wild Card and played the Boston Red Sox in the AL Division Series.