MLB Doesn’t Want You Betting On Spring Training Games

Posted on February 27, 2019 - Last Updated on April 29, 2020

While it may not be the real thing, baseball fans are always happy to hear the crack of the bat as spring training games get underway in the Cactus and Grapefruit Leagues. Superfans like the option of placing a few sports bets on the games, even though the don’t count in the standings.

Despite recent efforts by Major League Baseball to convince gaming regulators and casinos to bow out of the game’s preseason contests, sports betting on the spring training will continue.

West Virginia sportsbooks will offer spring training betting. Currently, WV sports betting has one mobile sports betting app, BetLucky and it is offering some action.

Sports betting on spring training games stays

The league recently asked the Nevada Gaming Control Board to bar sportsbooks from listing the games for wagering. That request was denied on Monday.

“Based on our history and experience in regulating sports wagering, we are not inclined to prohibit our licensed sports books from taking wagers on MLB spring training games. We have a common goal to combat sports bribery and maintain the integrity of your sport, and are available to discuss ways we can work together in this effort.”

MLB officials argue that spring training games carried “heightened integrity risks.” The risk lies in the fact that they are training games by nature and players may not always put out maximum effort. An expanded sports wagering market prompted the league to make the request.

In a statement to ESPN, MLB explained its position.

“Spring Training games are exhibition contests in which the primary focus of clubs and players is to prepare for the coming season rather than to win games or perform at maximum effort on every single play. These games are not conducive to betting and carry heightened integrity risks, and states should not permit bookmakers to offer bets on them. Limited and historically in-person betting on Spring Training in one state did not pose nearly the same integrity risks that widespread betting on Spring Training in multiple states will pose.”

Betting the spring training games in WV

Certainly spring training games are not a big draw gambling-wise, but have traditionally been offered in Nevada sportsbooks.

MLB made similar requests to the New Jersey Department of Gaming Enforcement and also in Pennsylvania.

Spring training games usually generate low betting limits, but MLB worries about minor leaguers being involved in the action. With traditionally low salaries, these players might be more amenable to manipulation or corruption may go the thinking.

However, attempts to alter a game may limit a player’s ability to impress coaches and make the team. Minor leaguers are looking to break out and for an opportunity to make it in the big leagues. Those in the industry have argued that MLB’s argument doesn’t hold merit.

BetLucky offering action on spring training games

WV online sportsbook, BetLucky is currently offering spring training action.

It is likely WV land-based casinos are also accepting bets in their sportsbooks. Besides Mardi Gras Casino and Wheeling Island Hotel, The Greenbrier confirmed they are also welcoming wagers. Hollywood Casino and Mountaineer Casino did not return our request for information prior to publishing.

Bettors can place wagers on the spring training games for the same day and there are no in-game bets available. Additionally, the mobile sports betting app is accepting futures on who will win the World Series and who hit the most home runs.

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Sean Chaffin

Sean Chaffin is a freelance writer in Crandall, Texas. His work appears in numerous websites and publications. Follow him on Twitter @PokerTraditions. He is also the host of the True Gambling Stories podcast, available on iTunes, Google Play, TuneIn Radio, Spotify, Stitcher, PokerNews.com, HoldemRadio.com, and other platforms.

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