MLB, MGM announce sports gambling partnership

November 27, 2018 06:30 PM

Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred announced a partnership with M-G-M Resorts as its official sports gambling partner in the U.S. and Japan. The deal won't have much of an impact on the Minnesota Twins because sports betting isn't legal here. At least not yet.

"It sends a very clear signal that the professional sports leagues view sports gambling as an opportunity to engage their fans [in a way] that results in additional TV viewership, greater fan interest and it's good for their sports," says Minnesota State Rep. Pat Garofalo, (R) Farmington, who's attending a sports gambling conference in New York City. "What they're looking for at the statewide level is just a regulated playing field that's going to keep an eye on integrity issues to make sure no one's acting nefariously or involved in match-fixing."


MLB joins the NBA, WNBA and NHL in partnering with MGM. The partnership will allow MGM to advertise on the MLB Network, and other platforms, including stadiums. 

"At this time we don't expect any new gaming-related advertising at Target Field," says Dustin Morse, a Minnesota Twins spokesman. "It's believed that markets in or near states which have already legalized sports betting will be more active within this space."

Sports gambling is likely to be legalized in many states after a U.S. Supreme Court ruling last spring struck down a federal law that restricted legal sports betting primarily to Nevada.

Garofalo immediately announced plans last spring to author a bill to make sports gambling legal in Minnesota. A spokeswoman for the new House DFL majority caucus says the issue will likely be debated in the next "year or two."

While Minnesota considers legalized sports betting, it's already happening in more states than you may realize.  Below are the states where you can now bet on sports legally.

Garofalo says Minnesota should act sooner rather than later.

"If Minnesota does nothing this is just going to mean more tax revenue leaving our state, fewer protections for consumers in Minnesota and another conduit for money to go into the underground economy," Garofalo told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS. "To the contrary, if we were to be able to move forward on sports gambling, there are going to be benefits...and it would allow the opportunity for our professional sports teams to be involved if they chose to."

States are considering jumping on the legal sports betting bandwagon, even as they struggle with the details of regulating it.

How much to tax it, and how to regulate mobile betting on phones are emerging as thorny issues for states.

At the sports betting conference Tuesday in New York, state representatives from Minnesota, New York and Ohio discussed their states' interest in legalizing more gambling. 

They're also interested in making sure players are protected, taxes are adequate but not punitive, and that mobile gambling be widely accessible.

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So far, seven states offer legal sports betting: Nevada, New Jersey, Delaware, West Virginia, Mississippi, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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Tom Hauser

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