Sports betting is not everyone’s favorite wild new thing to consider. From the very first time that the activity was suggested on a federal level, there have been people to oppose the move in earnest. Sporting bodies, including the Major League Baseball (MLB), the National Basketball Association (NBA) and the National Football League (NFL) have all remonstrated to some extent.
From integrity fees to shutting down businesses, the leagues have been throwing quite a few demands, though this fervor has subsided. Well, almost. Sports betting in Pennsylvania has been doing quite well, too, notching up decent results over the past few months.
While the NBA and NFL having realized the boons of a legal sports betting industry, the MLB is still having second thoughts. The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) has addressed a recent petition by the Major League Baseball HQ.
The petition was a request by the MLB to have all betting on the outcomes of matches at six state land-based venues suspended. The MLB explained that it would prefer all betting on its spring training games to come to a halt, giving the league sufficient time to investigate how betting affects integrity.
The Integrity Bogeyman in MLB Betting
Despite the request, a number of facilities, including Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course, said that they wouldn’t shut down their activities at the request of the MLB. Parx Casino in Bucks County was just about to add a spring training bet package, but the move didn’t receive regulatory approval.
The MLB has been quite determined to pursue a course of action whereby spring training games are not gambled on. The MB explained their reasoning in an official 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.
The MLB further explained that as demonstration games, participating athletes were low-profile and no reliable statistics could be drawn or offered, leaving the games vulnerable to being tampered with.
Similarly, the League is trying to curb gambling on baseball nationwide, although this has been met with opposition not only from businesses, but also from lawmakers and even regulators, as was the case in Nevada.
However, the PGCB caved, with spokesperson Doug Harbach commenting on the issue: “We acknowledge the concerns they raised concerning wagering on spring training games and we are examining these concerns.”
With this in mind, Mr. Harbach said that the PGCB had asked operators to refrain from offering odds on MLB competitions during the spring season until such a time that the PGCB had properly addressed the concerns raised by the MLB.