Is Major League Baseball Ready To Embrace Sports Betting?

Sports-betting

There is a new player in the realm of sports data and analysis, which comes by way of a merger between two notable technology companies – SportingPulse and Betgenius. The result is Genius Sports, a London-based data-driven solution provider for sports, media and regulated betting markets, employing over 750 people across 10 locations worldwide.

Because Genius Sports is a merger, it is not starting its business operations from scratch. It begins with a bounty of partners, including more than 100 leagues and sporting federations such as the English Premier League, La Liga, Major League Baseball, ATP, WTA, FIBA/IBF and over 150 basketball leagues worldwide.

The mix between SportingPulse and Betgenius will be an item to follow, as Betgenius has worked with many international bookmakers and lottery operators in driving turnover, increasing margins and acquiring consumers. Its clients include Paddy Power Betfair, Sky Betting & Gaming, Betsson and Intralot. Major League Baseball, now a client of Genius Sports alongside the aforesaid bookmakers, has traditionally been an ardent opponent of legalized sports betting across the United States, but even that may be changing.

“What I’ve said about legalized gambling is that the landscape is changing and that baseball, during this offseason, principally will take a look at its relationships with legalized gambling — whether it’s sponsorship, whatever — and re-evaluate given that the country has changed in terms of its approach to legalized gambling,” said MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred in November 2015.

Earlier in 2015, Manfred said that MLB needs to give “fresh consideration” to legalized sports betting, and that it is important for there to be a conversation between him and MLB owners about what MLB’s institutional position will be.

Sports betting largely remains illegal across the U.S. despite illegal gambling being at an all-time high. The results of Manfred’s offseason discussions are unknown, along with whether there will be a change in MLB’s institutional position. However, MLB is now a partner alongside numerous sports betting and lottery entities that look to Genius Sports to improve customer performance and drive profits.

“Genius Sports has a new name and a new look, but our mandate, mission and values remain the same,” said Nick Maywald, founder of SportingPulse and now Genius Sports’ CCO. “We believe the collection, protection and commercialisation of sports data is critical to the future success and growth of the sports industry. We understand that as a leading sports data and technology provider, we must build on our reputation as a trusted partner to the sports industry with innovation, intelligence and integrity.”

One of the popular products offered by Betgenius (and now Genius Sports) has been “Sportsbook Management,” which includes a sportsbook manager that is promoted as a vehicle to increase a bookmaker’s revenues and automate 195,000+ events per year with event creation, pricing and resulting included therein. “It’s a product respected by the entire industry,” said the editor of OnlineCasinoReports.com. “Data points cover over 4,500 events per month.”

Perhaps MLB is not any closer than it has ever been to accepting the potential of legalized gambling on its product outside of Nevada. It has used SportingPulse’s services to monitor and protect its sport as well as to prevent and manage integrity concerns associated with match-fixing and betting-related corruption. SportingPulse’s merger with Betgenius could be nothing more then a coincidence for the league, but it also has the potential to further educate Manfred and other MLB executives on why sports betting should not pose a problem for the integrity of the sport, especially if the league is equipped with a vehicle focused on killing corruption and maintaining integrity.

An event at the U.S. Capitol Visitor Center this Wednesday will focus on sports betting and integrity with a briefing titled, “The World of Sports Betting and Safeguarding Sports Integrity.” Mark Locke, newly named CEO of Genius Sports, is listed as a panelist at the discussion to be focused on the global issues, opportunities and public opinion associated with legal and regulated sports betting. Maybe a transcript of the event will appear on Manfred’s desk come Thursday morning.

Darren Heitner is a lawyer and the Founder of South Florida-based HEITNER LEGAL, P.L.L.C., which has a focus on Sports Law and Entertainment Law.

Credit: http://www.forbes.com/sites/darrenheitner/2016/04/19/is-major-league-baseball-ready-to-embrace-sports-betting/#70c16f4f2cc1

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