With Thanksgiving just in the rearview mirror, I think it’s safe to say that the comparison of getting a piece of the pie has never been more fitting. Think about it, your grandmother comes in with her world-famous apple pie in that same baking dish you’ve seen since you were a little degenerate child, and your eyes light up on how to get a piece of that apple pie. You want to be first, obviously, to pick your choice of the best slice, but as long as there’s a big piece left you’re going to be just fine.
Well, the NBA played the role of your drunk uncle who stumbled over to the kitchen before it was even served and took the biggest piece possible. You see, the pie in this scenario is sports gambling. Sports gambling is a multi-billion dollar industry and thanks to its forward-thinking commissioner, it got there first. That doesn’t mean there’s still not plenty to go around.
Enter Major League Baseball, who after “going for a walk with its cousin” couldn’t resist how tasty it looked.
Major League Baseball actually has a very long and troubled history with sports gambling (Sup, Pete Rose?) and despite that fact, MLB entered a multi-year partnership with MGM Resorts International this past week. So, what does that mean?
In the new industry of mobile apps, this all comes back to the flagship app for MLB, MLB At Bat. No, MLB-At Bat isn’t acting as a draft kings type of sportsbook for you to place bets, it’s honestly mostly just an open line of communication. Major League Baseball will give MGM and MGM’s mobile applications free-reign over their up to the second stats, next-gen stats (exit velocity, spin rate, etc), and most likely input some live betting expected win %’s pulled from MLB At Bat right into any mobile app parented by MGM.
In short, it really doesn’t mean much for you, the gambler and consumer, which isn’t what you probably wanted to hear.
So, if nothing really changes for the gambler, why the partnership?
If you remember back to the NBA’s proposed integrity fee, in short, it’s nothing more than a publicity stunt to show that MLB, much like The NBA and NHL are on-board with sports gambling in a responsible and legalized way. MLB may show betting odds on some of there broadcasts now as well. MGM is likely to be involved in advertising in a big way, much like how you see Draft Kings commercials for NFL events. The two biggest that come to mind are The MLB All-Star Game and World Series.
It’s a nice first step, but the truth of the matter is this is nothing more than a long-term advertising plan that allows MGM to be the “Official Gaming Partner Of Major League Baseball”, run some commercials, get access to some next level stats, and have the logo plugged on MLB Network, MLB-At Bat, and MLB.com
Commissioner Rob Manfred spoke out this past week, “Over the past 18 months we’ve had various senior people in the office involved various aspects of the sports gaming project,” baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred said at Tuesday’s announcement. “I think that we have ensured ourselves on the integrity front by updating our policies, making clear what employees and players can and cannot do on the one hand, and on the other developing clear guidelines for the commercial activity that central baseball, meaning Major League Baseball will engage in and similarly the kind of commercial activities that will be allowed on the club level, as well.”
It’s great that Major League Baseball is going to put on the public persona that they are onboard with sports gambling, but make no mistake, much like The NBA and NHL, this partnership means very little for you, the actual gambler. Major League Baseball was simply paid a lot of money to go on record time and time again stating that sports gambling is A-Okay in their book, unless of course your Pete Rose and The Black Sox.