Major League Baseball’s attempt to impose a ban on wagering on spring training games has been knocked back by the Nevada Gaming Control Board. The board’s response follows a written request submitted by MLB which sought an end to betting on such games which, it claimed, carried heightened integrity risks.
As first reported by ESPN, the Nevada gaming body responded to MLB’s missive with a polite rebuttal that read: “Based on our history and experience in regulating sports wagering, we are not inclined to prohibit our licensed sports books from taking wagers on MLB spring training games. We have a common goal to combat sports bribery and maintain the integrity of your sport, and are available to discuss ways we can work together in this effort.”
MLB had argued that spring training games could be at greater risk to integrity breaches because, among other things, players are not expected to play to their full capacity. The expansion of sports betting outside of Nevada intensified that risk it added.
A statement from the league read: “Spring training games are exhibition contests in which the primary focus of clubs and players is to prepare for the coming season rather than to win games or perform at maximum effort on every single play. These games are not conducive to betting and carry heightened integrity risks, and states should not permit bookmakers to offer bets on them. Limited and historically in-person betting on spring training in one state did not pose nearly the same integrity risks that widespread betting on Spring Training in multiple states will pose.”