MLB Joins American Gaming Association’s Responsible Gaming Initiative

MLB will also assist the National Council on Problem Gambling on initiatives by using their platform to shed light on the NCPG’s Gambling Helpline.

Last Updated: Sep 29, 2022 3:14 PM ET Read Time: 4 min
Rob Manfred Commissioner MLB
Photo By - USA TODAY Sports

Responsible gambling initiatives have surged this month, with Major League Baseball joining the club after announcing a partnership with the American Gaming Association's "Have a Game Plan" program.

"As legalized wagering continues to grow across the country, MLB is committed to ensuring that fans who choose to wager also have the tools and resources necessary to bet responsibly," said Kenny Gersh, MLB Executive Vice President, Business Development.

Starting this postseason, MLB will air public service announcements on some of their broadcasts. They will also invite each baseball team to individually partner with them to promote responsible strategies.

The league will also assist the National Council on Problem Gambling on initiatives by using their platform to shed light on the NCPG's Gambling Helpline.

"MLB understands that as legal sports betting grows, so does our collective commitment to responsibility," said AGA Senior Vice President Casey Clark. "This partnership will have a meaningful impact, teaching fans across the country the fundamentals of responsible wagering."

For its part, the AGA will educate MLB on league-wide responsible gambling through "benchmarks and annual trainings."

Other responsible gaming initiatives

Although Responsible Gaming Education Month is ending this week, the past few weeks have seen an uptick in discussions and strategies for responsible gambling.

Some of the largest sportsbooks released a 12-point pledge this month, creating an "industry standard" to tackle problem gambling. Included in the pledge is an adoption of a nationwide phone number, funding research, and promoting responsible strategies.

The AGA also hosted a webinar where industry members mentioned collaborating in their research and speaking with regulators to further responsible gambling objectives.

Other professional sports leagues, besides MLB, have also chipped in. The PGA Tour, which originally balked at working with online sportsbooks, released a PSA promoting the AGA's "Have a Game Plan" ahead of this month and partnered with the AGA back in January 2021. 

The NFL also aired their own responsible gambling ad on Sunday Night Football, under their motto "Stick to Your Gameplan."

MLB in the spotlight

Although they are in the shadow of the NFL in the fall, September and October are when the MLB season really shines.

This month featured two massive milestones, with Albert Pujols hitting 700 career home runs and Aaron Judge's chase of Roger Maris and the American League single-season home run record — which saw sportsbooks offer a number of Pujols and Judge-related milestone promotions. 

The World Series — if it goes seven games — will end on November 5. Just three days later, California, home to five MLB teams (Angels, Dodgers, Padres, Athletics, and Giants), will go to the polls to decide whether the Golden State will have online sports betting, retail sports betting, or no sports betting at all. 

MLB had previously announced they are supporting Prop 27, the ballot measure allowing online sports betting. In a statement, MLB "believes that Prop 27 has the safeguards to create a safe and responsible online sports betting market in California." However, a recent poll suggests there is a real chance this measure fails come November.

As a whole, however, MLB is not necessarily all-in on sports betting. While voicing support for one side of California’s referendum on sports betting, they have not committed any financial funding — unlike DraftKings and FanDuel, which have poured in millions of dollars.

Plus, MLBPA Executive Director Tony Clark said in July that the speed of the league's betting sponsorship expansion after PASPA was repealed gave him pause.

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