Professional sports leagues are warming up to legalizing sports betting, and the NBA has often been in the forefront.
But Major League Baseball is taking stock and accepting that there is money to be made in legal sports wagering -- a lot of it.
MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred recently commented on some advice that he received from his basketball counterpart, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver. As Silver suggested in an interview with Sports Techie, baseball’s pace of play might make it the sport best suited for in-game betting.
Those words did not go unnoticed.
“He’s right about that,” Manfred said of Silver. “I do think that it gives us an opportunity. There’s a natural flow to our game. (Many) people love that natural flow the way it is. I think the development of the sports betting landscape provides an opportunity to fill in those slow moments in our game that not everybody loves.”
MLB continues to tweak its rules, including recent provisions about the pace of play, to appeal to younger fans, but the league’s current setup puts it in prime position for in-game sports wagering. Bettors can take action during slow moments in each game, each at-bat or even during each at-bat.
And the more lulls there are in a game, the more opportunity bettors will have to place wagers. That could increase revenue for the league as well.
Scott Kaufman-Ross, the NBA's Senior Vice President of fantasy and gaming, told Techie.com that in-play betting accounts for 40 to 50 percent of total wagers on NBA games at New jersey's sportsbooks.
Such a statement from Manfred hardly comes as a surprise, as he already locked up a partnership with MGM Resorts, leading to a key sponsorship deal for the famed gambling-based brand. MGM Resorts was unveiled as the league’s “official gaming sponsor” in November and recently became the title sponsor for this month's Japan Series.
In concert with that MGM Resorts partnership, MLB does not seem too far off from trying to collect some additional revenue through sports betting. That could include in-game wagers if Manfred's thoughts are anything to go by.