MLB Drafts Betting Bill in Missouri Intent on Making Profit

MLB Drafts Betting Bill in Missouri Intent on Making Profit

By Trey Killian | Baseball , MLB | February 15th, 2018

MLB has echoed a move last week by the NBA in its drafting of a bill in Missouri regarding the growing legal sports gambling movement. The league has followed the NBA’s lead in announcing its conditional support for legal betting but requiring a one percent “integrity fee” on every potential bet made.

The Missouri bill follows a statement by MLB made earlier this week denouncing a bill introduced to West Virginia’s Senate attempting to legalize sports betting at the state’s gaming facilities. But while that bill was based on the state’s terms it’s becoming apparent that the NBA and MLB are quickly reacting and attempting to shift the conversation on their own terms.

The general guidelines for acceptable legislation dictated by NBA and MLB appear to be as follows:

  • 1. Detects and prevents improper betting conduct
  • 2. Pays one percent of betting handle to the leagues
  • 3. Allows leagues to restrict wagering on their events
  • 4. Includes consumer protections for bettors
  • 5. Includes internet and mobile betting.

What's in MLB's Bill?

The new Missouri bill specifically legalizes sports betting both land-based and on an online/mobile platform at the state’s gaming facilities. However, the required one percent fee would roughly equate to 20 percent of all revenue generated, which would only increase should other sports organizations follow suit with the same plan. Add that to the anticipated 21 percent tax that exists on other gaming options in the state and the potential benefit of the state and its facilities gets smaller and smaller.

The Missouri Gaming Commission would be responsible for regulating the industry. Registration for any potential online or mobile platform would cost $10,000, and basic problem gambling protocols and minimum standards for advertisements for sports betting would additionally be instituted.

Looking at the nitty gritty of the bill reveals even more issues as prohibitions on who will be even allowed to participate are strict and some aren’t even required by Nevada’s set of gaming regulations.

2. Sports wagering operators shall employ commercially reasonable methods to:
  • (1) Prohibit the operator, directors, officers, owners, and employees of the operator, and any relative living in the same household as such persons, from placing bets with the operator;
  • (2) Prohibit athletes, coaches, referees, team owners, employees of a sports governing body or its member teams, and player and referee union personnel from wagering on any sporting event overseen by their sport’s governing body. In determining which persons are excluded from placing wagers under this subsection, operators shall use publicly available information and any lists of such persons that the sports governing body may provide to the commission;
  • (3) Prohibit any individual with access to non-public confidential information held by the operator from placing wagers with the operator;
  • (4) Prohibit persons from placing wagers as agents or proxies for others…

Under the bill, MLB and other “sports governing bodies” would have the power to limit wagers and control where the data used in the betting comes from all while.

MLB Passing Burden

Furthermore, despite the incongruously named “integrity tax” attempting to signal MLB’s concern about the integrity of its sports, it appears that much of the implementation and protection of said integrity would fall on the shoulders of the state and gaming facilities.

On a personal level potential betters would be wary of the right of MLB to ask for “account-level betting information and audio or video files relating to persons placing wagers” at any time. This information includes personally identifiable customer information, IP addresses of bets made and the amount and type of the bet.

What the Bill Means

Despite this recent shift to the offensive for MLB, there are plenty of questions as to what extent their pleas will be met. They are, in some states, late to the game and appear to be making up legislation as a reaction on the fly to a legal sports betting discussion that’s been going on for some time.

Missouri now has been added to the list of states in which MLB and the NBA have established lobbying efforts (Iowa, Kansas, Indiana, New York, Rhode Island and West Virginia.) With such efforts being made it’s becoming clearer that pro sports leagues are doubting their chances at winning the Supreme Court sports betting case (Christie vs. NCAA) more each day.

If the recent activity by the NBA and MLB are any indication, the U.S.’s pro sports entities seem more concerned with carving out their own substantial slices of the potential legal betting pie than they are with perceived “integrity” of their sports.

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