Major League Baseball (MLB) has now turned its attention to New Jersey to stop betting on spring training games.
And now the NJ Division of Gaming Enforcement has also received a similar request.
The Office of the Attorney General said in a statement:
“Our Division of Gaming Enforcement has received a letter from Major League Baseball seeking the rescission of wagering on its spring training baseball games. The request is under review.”
NJ sportsbooks, including DraftKings Sportsbook, started offering MLB spring training games as soon as they started.
— DraftKings Sportsbook (@DKSportsbook) February 21, 2019
The MLB and sports betting fears
Most likely the biggest argument to be made by MLB is the fear of manipulation from minor league players.
While some of baseball’s big-name stars do participate in spring training, the games mostly consist of minor league players competing for roster spots.
Following the repeal of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA), major sports leagues had argued their games would be vulnerable to manipulation without proper safeguards.
One such safeguard pitch by league representatives was the ability to control which games customers could place wagers on.
However, any large bet on an exhibition game would be heavily monitored by gaming operators.
Could other leagues follow?
While this is not the first-time betting on spring training has been available (see Nevada), it is the first time it has been available in multiple states.
It is interesting to note: The National Football League (NFL) did not submit a request to New Jersey to ban betting on its preseason games.
NJ sports betting sites were able to take bets on a majority of NFL preseason games, which like the MLB, consist of athletes that may or may not make the team.
Viewed as a development league, the top high school athletes across the country could opt out of attending college and instead sign a contract with the NBA right out of high school.