Major League Baseball has always taken a hard stance against gambling of any kind. But MLB commissioner Rob Manfred has indicated that the league might be open to softening its stance on the issue.
“There is this buzz out there in terms of people feeling that there may be an opportunity here for additional legalized sports betting,” Manfred told Yahoo! Finance on Wednesday. “We are reexamining our stance on gambling. It’s a conversation that’s ongoing with the owners.”
For a league that seems desperate to attract younger fans to the game, finding a way to allow legalized betting on baseball sounds like a no-brainer.
When fans bet on games, Manfred continued, it “can be a form of fan engagement, it can fuel the popularity of a sport. We all understand that.”
Fans are betting on sports regardless of whether it’s legal or not, which is why Manfred is open to a discussion about revising MLB’s policies on gambling.
“Sports betting happens,” Manfred said. “Whether it’s legalized here or not, it’s happening out there. So I think the question for sports is really, ‘Are we better off in a world where we have a nice, strong, uniform, federal regulation of gambling that protects the integrity of sports, provides sports with the tools to ensure that there is integrity in the competition … Or are we better off closing our eyes to that and letting it go on as illegal gambling? And that’s a debatable point.”
Times have certainly changed since Major League Baseball first adopted an official set of rules about gambling in the sport back in 1927. Legalized gambling in many forms has become commonplace in today’s society.