“Sports betting happens, whether it’s legalized or not.” Largely seen as a positive development, Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred spoke about the contentious legalization of US sports betting issue at the Yahoo Finance All Markets Summit in New York Wednesday, saying that he is “monitoring” the issue and “re-examining” the MLB’s stance.
“There is this buzz out there in terms of people feeling that there may be an opportunity here for additional legalized sports betting,” Manfred said. “We are re-examining our stance on gambling. It’s a conversation that’s ongoing with the owners.”
“And here’s the issue, and I think Commissioner Silver [NBA] has probably framed it the best, betting can be a form of fan engagement, it can fuel the popularity of a sport. We all understand that.”
“Sports betting happens, 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 the have 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 competition … or are we better off closing our eyes to that and letting it go on as illegal gambling? And that’s a debatable question.”
According to the American Gaming Association, betting estimates on the 2017 Super Bowl come in at around $4.7 billion, of which 97 percent is believed to have been placed illegally.