Legal

NJDGE denies MLB request to ban betting on spring training games

Jake Patel
Posted on March 7, 2019

The New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (NJDGE) has officially denied a request put forth by Major League Baseball (MLB) to halt betting on spring training games.

A spokesperson from the NJDGE  told Legal Sports Report that the division responded to the request last week.

This means that sportsbooks in the state of New Jersey will be able to offer odds and accept bets on MLB spring training games.

New Jersey was not the only state to receive such a request. Last week, regulatory bodies in Nevada, Pennsylvania and Mississippi also received requests from the MLB to stop betting on the training games for integrity reasons.

In a statement, the MLB said: “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.”

The Nevada Gaming Control Board (NGCB) declined MLB’s request shortly after it was made.

In the NGCB’s response to the MLB, the regulator said: “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.”

The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) asked sportsbooks to remove spring training games while it reviews MLB’s request.

Betting revenue from spring training games accounts for a very small amount of revenue for legal sportsbooks in the country. Although there may be genuine integrity concerns, it appears that the league is attempting to gain some form of control over betting on its games.

This is not the first time a sports league has attempted to restrict what kind of bets can be placed on events. In September last year, the National Football League (NFL) asked Congress for the right to restrict in-game prop bets on certain players but the league’s request was denied.

This news comes a week after the MLB signed a partnership with sports data distributor Sportradar.