MLBPA Director Says Baseball Entering A “Dangerous World” With Sports Betting

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MLB Players Association Director Tony Clark Shares Sports Betting Warning

Anytime a so-called vice is legalized in the U.S., the pushback is predictable, with those concerned with abuse always the first to protest the new market, a valid fear that certainly needs to be addressed, but not a good enough reason to stop moving forward.

The alcohol, cigarette, marijuana, and pornography industries in the U.S. have all gotten resistance similar to what the newly legalized sports betting industry is receiving – that abuse is a problem – and now insiders like MLB Players Association Director Tony Clark are joining in.

In an interview last week with the Baseball Writers’ Association of America (BWAA), Director Clark was asked if he was getting concerned with how sports betting has infiltrated Major League Baseball, and his answer left his take crystal clear:

Getting? No. Is? Yeah. Has been? Sure …. We’re entering a very delicate and, dare I say, dangerous world here.

Legal sports betting in the U.S. has only been a concern since May 2018 when the Supreme Court gave the green light to individual states.

Clark: Decision to Legalize Sports Betting Affects Players and Game of Baseball

For the longest time in the U.S., sports betting could only happen legally in Las Vegas and Atlantic City, but in May 2018 the Supreme Court overturned PASPA which essentially gave each state the right to choose to legalize, regulate, and tax a market for their residents.

Since then, over thirty states plus D.C. have launched some version of sports betting for their gamblers, and MLBPA Director Clark was leery from the start, tweeting this message that same day in May 2018 warning the league to stay aware of all this decision could mean:

Statement of MLBPA Executive Director Tony Clark on U.S. Supreme Court’s sports betting decision… pic.twitter.com/0pLmWvb9KU

— MLBPA (@MLBPA) May 14, 2018

Complex intellectual property questions, player safety, game integrity – all excellent concerns to bring up when something new is being introduced to an existing scenario like sports betting to pro and college athletics because fans need to trust that what they are watching isn’t staged.

However, there is also a big upside to adding sports betting to all the major leagues in the U.S., and that is that placing wagers on live action is a lot of fun.

Fans Can Now Wager at Stadiums via In-House Sportsbooks

There is no doubt that a game becomes more thrilling the moment you bet anything more than a nickel on who is going to win, and it is that level of excitement that legalizing sports betting state by state has brought to the pro leagues like the NFL, NBA, and MLB as well as the NCAA.

Now MLB fans at pro stadiums can make bets in the middle of a game they are watching by placing wagers at the sportsbooks that are popping up at many of those locations, and the reaction seems mostly positive as that action adds a level of delight to the experience.

What MLBPA Director Clark knows is that keeping sports betting in check and above board will take an effort by everyone on both sides of the wager, with the main source of change being through the lawmakers’ pen, saying:

So we’ll continue to pound the pavement in each of the state legislatures that are continuing to push, that have language in place and those that don’t yet that are potentially coming online.

It will be an ongoing battle to keep sports from becoming fixed and the results of games honest, but that must be the goal and it must be achieved otherwise the entire experiment will have been a bad bet for everyone.

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