Major American sporting leagues are dead set against the legalisation of sports betting, but the MLB has been softening its stand of late.
Commissioner Rob Manfred doesn’t share much of his predecessor, Bud Selig’s opposition to sports betting and this is good news for the Americans waiting for the opportunity to bet legally on their favourite sporting events.
He has made statements to the effect that the sport needs to consider its institutional position against gambling.
However, certain newly released documents concerning discredited baseball great, Pete Rose show exactly why sports administrators wished to avoid mixing gambling with sports.
The question on everyone’s mind is whether these revelations will harden the MLB’s opinion against legalising sports betting.
Rose, who played major league baseball between 1963 and 1986, and went on to manage a team for five years, was accused of betting on baseball, both when he was a player and manager.
What’s worse is that, he placed bets on his team, the Cincinnati Reds, although he said he never bet against them.
Rose has cried himself hoarse over a quarter of a decade maintaining that he never placed bets while he was a player.
Most unfortunately for him, new documents, brought into the public domain by Outside The Lines, have emerged recently that show that Rose made a lot of bets on baseball, and particularly on the Reds during his last year as a player.
These revelations couldn’t have come at a worse time, considering that there is divided opinion in America over the question of making sports betting legal.
While hardliners maintain that it is the worst thing that can happen to sports (and they have lots of examples such as the 1919 Chicago Black Sox scandal), many other influential people believe that gambling should be permitted as long as it is federally regulated since this will bring the huge underground gambling business out in the open.
As a matter of fact, NBA commissioner, Adam Silver set the ball rolling thanks to an op-ed in The New York Times.
Both Manfred and Silver agree that federal regulation is absolutely necessary.
Owners and managers of football teams were very quick to offer support to Silver, but Manfred hasn’t had as much luck with the owners of baseball teams.
It appears that the ghost of Rose’s actions hang over the sport, having occurred fairly recently and involving a great deal of money.
MLB has invested in popular fantasy sports company, DraftKings, which has major plans to enter the lucrative British market.
In fact, it has put in the paperwork at the UK Gambling Commission for a pool betting license.
However, fantasy sports betting isn’t strictly gambling and American courts consider it to be a game of skill, and not only chance.
The new chapter in the sordid Rose story isn’t likely to change anything at the MLB.
In fact, what seems likely is that the MLB and NBA will work together to find a way to legalise sports betting within a proper federal framework and this is good news indeed for the fans of sports gambling.