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MLB’s Manfred Wants Input on Sports Betting

Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred is stuck in a bad position. He and the other league commissioners know there’s a chance the Supreme Court rules in favor of New Jersey. Should that happen, states will have the option to offer legal sports betting. But Manfred told the AP he wants a say in the matter.

“If there’s going to be a change in the regulatory structure with respects to sports gambling, we needed to be in a position to meaningfully engage and shape, try to shape what the new regulatory scheme looks like,” Manfred said. “We’re in the process of talking to our owners and figuring out where we want to be in the event that there is in fact a significant change coming.”

But if New Jersey wins its case, the Garden State doesn’t need the approval of any of the leagues. That’s what puts the leagues in a bind. If they want to have input they need to act now. Although that could open the doors for federal legalization. The leagues could give legal betting a boost over a case in which they may win.

To his credit, Manfred said something similar before the Supreme Court said it would take the New Jersey case.

“We’ve begun a conversation educating people about what’s out there, what sports leagues in other countries have done, in an effort to make sure Major League Baseball is ready to join in what I think is going to be a dialogue about how sports gambling regulation in the United States should be changed,” he said.

Both Manfred and the NBA’s Adam Silver have expressed some support for legalized regulated sports betting. The two holdouts just happen to be the leagues that are putting teams in Las Vegas; the NFL and the National Hockey League.

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