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MLB Becomes First Major Sports League to Support Sports Betting Initiative in California

Written by:
Gilbert Horowitz
Published on:
Aug/14/2022

Major League Baseball on Friday announced it would be supportive of an initiative that would authorize online sports betting in California.  In doing so, it becomes the first professional sports league to support such an initiative in California.

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There are two that will be appearing on this November's ballot.  Proposition 26 would restrict betting to in-person only at tribal casinos and four horse racing tracks. Proposition 27 would allow online sports betting.

The MLB supports Prop 27, backed by the likes of FanDuel and DraftKings, both of which are league betting partners.

The two sides in California have pledged to spend at least $100 million on their individual campaigns to have sports betting legalized in California.  It is not immediately clear how much, if anything, Major League Baseball will pump into the campaign for Proposition 27.

"As legalized sports betting continues to expand across the country, Major League Baseball remains committed to protecting the integrity of its games and creating a safe experience for fans who wish to wager on those games," MLB said in statement released Friday. "Proposition 27 -- the only measure on California's upcoming ballot that would authorize and regulate online sports betting -- includes strong integrity provisions designed to help MLB carry out those commitments.

"The measure would, for example, (1) require sports book operators to notify leagues of suspicious wagering activity, (2) allow leagues to propose restrictions on betting markets that are particularly susceptible to manipulation, and (3) facilitate other forms of integrity-related cooperation between the state, leagues, and operators. MLB believes that Prop 27 has the safeguards to create a safe and responsible online sports betting market in California -- a state with millions of MLB fans looking for alternatives to illegal offshore betting sites."

Eilers & Krejcik Gaming has estimated that online sports betting could ultimately generate up to $3 billion in annual revenue to the state whereas VIXIO Gambling Compliance estimates retail-only would generate $356 million.

- Gilbert Horowitz, Gambling911.com

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