The era of sports betting took a dramatic turn in May 2018. The US Supreme Court overturned a 1992 federal law that prohibited sports gambling across every state except Nevada. With this monumental ruling, the door swung wide open for sports betting in the United States. Major League Baseball must have been reading the tea leaves before the court’s ruling…

MLB Opens the Door with an Exclusive Partnership with DraftKings

Three years before the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act was reversed, 27 MLB teams initially formed an exclusive partnership with daily fantasy sports leader DraftKings. At the time, the idea of DFS being legal wasn’t the same as actually wagering on the games themselves.

However, it seemed to be a leading indicator of what the future might hold. State governments started to wrestle with the legality of how daily fantasy sports played into the whole gambling issue.

Then, the highest court in the land suddenly altered the conversation dramatically. It’s as if Major League Baseball knew something long before the rest of us did. The extension of the deal a couple months later further cemented the relationship.

Nudging the Door a Little Wider Open

The extension of this mutual partnership with DraftKings began to bear fruit when New Jersey became the second and most prevalent state to open up sports betting. The partnership with America’s Pastime made DK an immediate player in the New Jersey sportsbook industry. It’s sure to pay dividends in the Pennsylvania sports betting scene as well.

What’s somewhat ironic is how ardent Major League Baseball was in the fight against overturning the 1992 nationwide gambling ban. MLB was actually third in line to ink lucrative agreements with MGM resorts over three years ago as well. The whole idea behind these partnerships seemed to be more than just coincidence.

Flinging the Door Wide Open

The combination of partnerships certainly has a direct correlation with what happened in May 2018. Both DraftKings and MGM are at the forefront of their respective industries. The collective partnering of their expertise with the professionalism and the avid fan base of professional baseball, has flung the door wide open for betting on baseball.

Setting up as a partner and advertising a joint venture with DraftKings was only a beginning. Now these two major players in the sports betting world have uniquely tied themselves to a groundbreaking sports betting app.

This connection has meaning beyond simply connecting the DFS world with professional baseball. Fans will have access to various types of baseball commentary, wagering information and up-to-date betting lines, plus potentially live broadcast options.

DraftKings has been a calculated player in cementing itself in the national betting market. Beyond making a huge impact in New Jersey, DraftKings is primed to shift operations into a few New York resort and casino facilities. No baseball fan can deny the level of importance a presence in the New York sports arena can be.

What it all Means

Other professional sports are an important part of the whole changing landscape of sports betting in the United States. But, none should be considered more so than professional baseball. It is after all, America’s Pastime.

Much of the sports world also appreciates how big of a role gambling has played in professional baseball’s darker side. While every one of the incidents that put a black mark on baseball were during a time sports betting was illegal, MLB still owns a rather unflattering place in America’s sports betting history.

Because of this history, it’s almost as if this one professional sport has the power to sway public opinion more than all the others collectively. Being part of the whole shift in public opinion towards sports betting is vital to every sport.

For Major League Baseball to be linked in partnership with two major players in the industry says a lot about where the new age of sports betting is headed. It’s almost as if Major League Baseball read it all in the tea leaves. One thing for certain, the MLB will be an important player in the rapidly changing landscape of sport betting in America.

  1. Jay

    Jay says:
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    Love minutiae legalese posts! If you ask me, fantasy baseball was built for it. Just look at any regulation list for long-standing dynasty leagues, if you squint, it reads like a college thesis on the French bourgeoisie’s affect on the textiles during the industrilized era.

    Regardless, interesting topic… it’s always been a mystery to me that MLB and other sport orgs have lagged behind on this issue. There’s literally a pot of money that they probably have merit to, and standing to claim, but they just didn’t realize it until now.

  2. haha, glad I was able to entertain in some way or another.

    What’s going to get very interesting when it sports betting is fully integrated nationwide is collusion of players/coaches/refs.

    • Jay

      Jay says:
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      @Sam Shefrin: I think they solve that by giving a piece of the action to those players, like a blanket percentage, and then just making sure the regulations are so expansive, that it’ll literally bite the hand that feeds you if caught. But, I am not a lawyer. I’d just assume that the next bargaining agreement will try to have language, because if there’s a pie, someone’s gonna want a piece.

  3. Count de Monetball says:
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    Very cool read Sam. Thank you very much

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