Aside from futures, wagering on Major League Baseball is on hold in Pennsylvania.
In a Tuesday email, Doug Harbach, spokesman for the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB), confirmed the board received a request from the MLB to prohibit PA sports betting on spring training games.
“The PGCB has asked sports betting operators to refrain from offering wagers on spring training games while it examines MLB’s concerns.”
No spring training for PA sports betting
Certainly, the PGCB will review Major League Baseball’s concerns. While it does, as Harbach noted, PGCB wants all operators to pull any exhibition games from their offerings.
That said, it appeared as if not one of the six sportsbooks in the Keystone State had even started offering lines on spring training games.
That is not to say the market is without an MLB presence. Futures are still alive and well in Pennsylvania, with markets ranging from over/under totals on wins as well as which team will win the World Series.
MLB asked other states as well
In addition to Pennsylvania, three other states with live regulated sports betting received a similar request from the MLB.
Both Mississippi and New Jersey received letters from the league. Like Pennsylvania, both are reviewing MLB concerns.
The league’s request, however, has already been tossed to the side by the Nevada Gaming Control Board.
In its letter to the MLB, the NGCB noted that wagering on spring training games in the Silver State has gone on for decades without problems.
Nearly a week after the league submitted its request, Nevada’s gaming board wrote:
“Based on our history and experience in regulating sports wagering, we are not inclined to prohibit our licensed sports books from taking wagers on MLB Spring Training games. We have a common goal to combat sports bribery and maintain the integrity of your sport, and are available to discuss ways we can work together in this effort.”
Sandra Morgan, chairwoman of the NGCB, emphasized that the state has proper controls and regulations in place to maintain integrity.
MLB concerned about ‘integrity risks’
For years, the MLB, along with the other professional leagues and the NCAA, fought against state-sanctioned sports betting. “Integrity” became the hot-button term.
And it was prevalent in the league’s requests to state gaming regulators.
Major League Baseball claimed that spring training games contained “heightened integrity risks.” Those come with the use of minor league players combined with the perception that most players take it easy. The first of the spring training games started on Monday.
From a league statement:
“Spring Training games are exhibition contests in which the primary focus of Clubs and players is to prepare for the coming season rather than to win games or perform at maximum effort on every single play. These games are not conducive to betting and carry heightened integrity risks, and states should not permit bookmakers to offer bets on them. Limited and historically in-person betting on Spring Training in one state did not pose nearly the same integrity risks that widespread betting on Spring Training in multiple states will pose.”