The MLB is Reconsidering Baseball Betting
Legal wagering in the US is constantly under examination and discussion, but in a new announcement by Major League Baseball’s commissioner Rob Manfred, it looks like things might be moving towards a new reality with regards to sports betting.
Manfred stated that the MLB is “reexamining” its position towards sports betting at the Yahoo! Finance All Markets Summit in New York City. He added that there is a “buzz out there that there may be an opportunity here for additional legalized sports betting. We are reexamining our stance on gambling. It’s a conversation that’s ongoing with the owners.”
The buzz that MLB commissioner Fred Manfred is referring to is the waves that the US Supreme Court created when they showed interest in actually considering the state of New Jersey’s bid to make sports betting legal within state lines. This bid was rejected by the courts under the Supreme Court on the basis that legal sports betting would be a violation of the federal PASPA prohibition.
The state of New Jersey isn’t on its own either. Just this year politicians from another four states in the US have filed legislation based on the outcome of this bid. Those states are New York, Pennsylvania, Michigan and South Carolina. The legislation outlines that if the Supreme Court does eventually side with New Jersey on this issue, or if the federal authorities switch PASPA with a national legal structure for betting, they too will authorize sports betting in their states. This could be monumental since we’re talking about a huge population suddenly having access to sports betting on a legal level.
It seems that Rob Manfred has slowly been working up to letting the public know what he thinks about the issue. Even over two years ago, the MLB commissioner stated that “society has changed its presence on legalization”. He commented that he was interested in having discussions with team owners about forming an official position as a league with regards to sports betting.
Actually, the ball was already rolling for Manfred when National Basketball Association commissioner Adam Silver was quoted in the New York Times stating that in his opinion legal wagering was “inevitable” and that taking a “different approach” was necessary.
Manfred’s position is based upon the rationality that has led to other illegal acts, such as the use of marijuana, to achieve a more legally accepted position – people are doing it anyway. In his words, “”Sports betting happens. Whether it’s legalized here or not, it’s happening out there.” He commented that the MLB team owners were “better off in a world where we have a nice, strong, uniform, federal regulation of gambling that protects the integrity of sports, provides sports with the tools to ensure that there is integrity in the competition”. He then went on to ask, “Or are we better off closing our eyes to that and letting it go on as illegal gambling?”
As is expected, there’s still a huge amount of red tape and political scrimmaging that will need to take place before New Jersey, or any of the other interested states, can actually start really thinking about introducing legal wagering on sports. For one thing, President Trump has yet to nominate his solicitor general. This decision is critical to the issue of legal betting since the solicitor general will present a detailed brief outlining the White House’s official position on the issue.
In Canada of course things are different since betting on sports is legal although we’re a far cry from actually having a unified stance with regards to how sports bets are made. Maybe if things move forward in the US, sports betting in Canada can also be improved and broadened.