MLB Schedules Sports Betting Announcement; Another …

MLB Schedules Sports Betting Announcement; Another MGM Deal Afoot? 1

Stop us if you've heard this one before. A professional US sports league is prepared to make ‘a major announcement' related to sports betting.

This week, it's Major League Baseball. First spotted on Twitter:

MLB is the third professional sports league to schedule such an event in recent months using similar terminology. Both previous instances resulted in the unveiling of new league-level partnerships, each involving MGM Resorts International:

  • NBA; announcement on July 31
  • NHL; announcement on Oct. 29

Could a third deal be on deck for MGM?

Does MLB have a sports betting partner?

It should be said that there is no confirmation that this MLB announcement will even include a league-level partnership. Details are limited to that single tweet from ESPN reporter David Purdum, so anything else is pure speculation.

Let us speculate.

At least publicly, all four professional sports leagues initially met the US Supreme Court decision on PASPA with some timidness. Each drafted its own set of proposed best practices for state and federal lawmakers, and the NBA and MLB actively lobbied for the power to restrict the implemenation. They wanted integrity fees, too, of course. None (save maybe the NBA) was ready to fully embrace an uptick in folks betting on their games.

May seems like a decade ago, though, and sports is warming up to gambling in a hurry.

Alliances between franchises and gambling companies have fallen into place like dominoes in recent months — enough that we had to create a sports betting partnership tracker to keep up. Millions, perhaps tens of millions of dollars are already changing hands at the team level.

And, of course, there are those new league-level deals with MGM.

Is it MGM again?

The list of candidates is much longer than just one, however, should the MLB announcement include an official partnership.

Lest you forget, MLB has a relationship with DraftKings that dates clear back to 2014. The league only just divested its equity stake in the company in recent months. DraftKings, of course, now operates DraftKings Sportsbook as a full-fledged gambling company. Both it and its primary competitor, FanDuel Sportsbook, are headquartered near the league offices in New York.

Really, though, any large sports betting company could be a potential partner, including the likes of 888 and William Hill. Both are already involved in team-level deals, and both have the resources to establish themselves at the national level.

That being said, casual office handicapping has MGM as the clear favorite given the sparse details. New precedent aside, there are some existing connections between the two that could serve as the foundation for expansion. MGM holds stadium naming rights for the MiLB's Biloxi Bombers, for example, and its Mandalay Bay property in Las Vegas is set to host the league-wide winter meetings this year. While not partners, the two are certainly friends.

So… if the MLB announcement does include an official partnership, then the smart money would be on MGM.

Again, though, only one thing is really a guarantee. Regardless of who MLB partners with or in what capacity, money from the expansion of sports betting will flow into its coffers like water. A recent Neilsen Sports study projected the league stands to realize $1.1 billion in associated annual revenue — even without a legislative mandate for additional fees.

The post MLB Schedules Sports Betting Announcement; Another MGM Deal Afoot? appeared first on Legal Sports Report.

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