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MLB to Offer Live In-Play Contest App Sponsored by BetMGM Won't Take Actual Bets

Written by:
Mary Montgomery
Published on:
Jul/20/2020

Through a partnership deal with BetMGM, Major League Baseball plans to introduce an app that offers cash prizes but without any type of betting component.  The live in-play wagering platforms are still available from some in-state sportsbooks and betting companies that operate outside the US while still accepting players from the States.

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From the Los Angeles Times:

Will the Dodgers win, or will the San Francisco Giants? How many batters will Clayton Kershaw strike out? In his next at-bat, will Cody Bellinger hit a home run, reach base some other way, strike out, or make some other kind of out?

The difference between the gambling sites and the MLB app is that you pay to win cash prizes.  Say what?

Even before the pandemic, sports executives considered betting as a fountain of revenue largely untapped by pro leagues. A PwC report last year projected that an infusion of sports betting money, including deals such as the one with MGM, could mean North America’s pro leagues would make more money from sponsorships than from gate revenue by the end of the decade. 

Commissioner Rob Manfred has said MLB makes about 40% of its money in gate revenue: tickets, concessions, parking and such. With gate revenue projected for now at zero this season, and with the possibility of limited capacities in ballparks until a coronavirus vaccine is available, the imperative to accelerate sports betting is evident. 

A 2018 American Gaming Assn. report projected that MLB could make as much as $1.1 billion per year from sports betting. Sports betting is legal in 22 states, either statewide or via tribal agreements. California is not one of those states, but the Dodgers’ stadium renovations this year included sports bars that could be converted to sports books at a later date. 

Of that $1.1-billion estimate, the AGA projected that $154 million would come from advertising and sponsorships from gambling companies, and from data sales to such companies.

- Mary Montgomery, Gambling911.com

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