Ron Manfred: MLB Reconsidering Opinion On Legal Sports Betting

The last month has certainly been a busy one when it comes to the sports betting industry. The floodgates on the discussion surrounding legalized sports betting have been opened, and it was all sparked by the announcement that the Oakland Raiders would be moving to Las Vegas by 2020. National Football League Commissioner Roger Goodell has since been making headlines for opposing sports gambling, while seemingly contradicting himself by acknowledging the benefits of Nevada’s regulated sports betting industry. Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred is the latest to enter the discussion.

What Commish Manfred Had To Say

During his appearance on ESPN’s Mike & Mike show, Commissioner Manfred had much to say when questioned about his opinions on sports betting. Radio host Mike Greenberg posed a question about the Raiders’ pending move and what the overall opinion in the league was regarding legalized sports gambling. Manfred had the following to say:

"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."

The conversation did not end there, as Greenburg also mentioned statements recently made by National Basketball Association Commissioner Adam Silver. If you need a refresher, Silver has been a supporter of legalized sports betting for years. He has recently been more vocal about the NBA’s stance on the issue with the progress of the New Jersey sports betting case and other recent developments. While the league has expressed interest in studying the topic, there has not been any active legal participation just yet.

When speaking on his take of Silver’s strong stance, Manfred made it clear that he feels his statements are necessary with the current political climate and differing opinions surrounding the popular form of gambling.

"I think Adam has done a nice job of making people aware that the landscape on sports gambling is changing around us, has changed dramatically. And in part in response to his comments but in response to just general developments in the area, we’ve begun a conversation with the owners… I mean, you know the old division of betting illegally with a bookie somewhere is not today’s world."

What Happens Next?

Though Manfred now joins the ranks of other league officials that have articulated their interest in sports betting, there is still quite a long way to go. When we look at the individual efforts made by each individual league, the actual movement has yet to start reaching its momentum.

The MLB and NBA are both continuing their research on the impact of regulated sports betting. NFL owners voted for the Raiders to move to Vegas, and the NHL has chosen Las Vegas for an expansion franchise next season. While these are all signs that leagues are moving away from their old school of thought and are becoming more liberal, we have yet to see any real action. If NJ were to win its case against the PASPA being unconstitutional, it would make it easy for the leagues to simply jump on board and design a regulatory structure. If PASPA continues to stand as it is, the leagues would need to take their own action in propelling change for states with sports betting.