MLB and MGM Resorts Announce Official Gaming Partnership

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Major League Baseball has officially gotten into the sports gambling business, partnering with MGM Resorts International.

As an official sponsor of MLB, MGM Resorts will domestically promote its brand and gaming options across MLB's digital and broadcast platforms, including MLB Network, MLB.com, the MLB At Bat app and additional fan engagement offerings to be jointly developed.

MGM Resorts will be identified as an MLB-Authorized Gaming Operator and utilize the league’s official statistics feed, on a non-exclusive basis, on its digital and live domestic sports gaming options.

MLB will also make enhanced statistics available to MGM on an exclusive basis. In addition, the two will work together on comprehensive responsible gaming measures and work to protect the integrity of the game both on and off the field.

"We are pleased to partner with MGM Resorts International, a clear industry leader in the sports gaming area, to work together on bringing innovative experiences to baseball fans and MGM customers," said MLB commissioner Rob Manfred. "Our partnership with MGM will help us navigate this evolving space responsibly, and we look forward to the fan engagement opportunities ahead."

During the Tuesday news conference, Manfred also suggested that the often-criticized slower pace of play in baseball might be a good thing by offering more opportunities for wagering between plays. Manfred is hoping to add a pitch clock for the 2019 MLB season, however.

In October, the NHL League announced it would become partners in sports betting with MGM Resorts, agreeing to a multi-year data sharing and marketing deal. The NHL followed in the footsteps of the NBA, which has a similar agreement with MGM.

Since May when the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the ban on sports betting, the pace of announcements has quickened regarding professional sports league partnerships with sportsbooks and U.S. states proposing or passing legislation and implementing sports betting.
The agreement announced Tuesday also will extend to Japan, where MGM Resorts will be an official partner at grassroots baseball events such as the MLB Road Show. An interactive fan experience that celebrates Major League Baseball, MLB Road Show tours throughout Japan giving fans an opportunity to participate in baseball activities including batting and pitching cages, base-running stations, virtual reality, and a baseball museum.

"We are excited to enter into this historic partnership with MLB. We are thrilled to create a new one-of-a-kind fan experience for baseball fans," said MGM Resorts Chairman and CEO Jim Murren. "Combining MGM Resorts' world class entertainment and technology with MLB data will continue to transform a rapidly changing industry."

Over the years, Major League Baseball suffered betting scandals, most notably the Chicago “Black Sox” throwing the 1919 World Series and former Cincinnati Reds player and manager Pete Rose being banned from baseball for life after an investigation showed he placed bets on the Reds with illegal sportsbooks.

According to an Associated Press report, MLB is considering updating policies that would prohibit employees and players from causing bets to be made and from disseminating private information that could impact betting.

The league also is discussing its prohibition against team owners also owning entities that provide sports betting, a policy in place before the Supreme Court decision, the AP report continued. Manfred declined to give details on possible policy changes to the news wire service, but said they were discussed at last week’s owners meeting.

 

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