May 7, 2024 3 min read

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MLB Commissioner Discusses League’s Stance on Sports Betting

MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred’s remarks followed closely after the recent Shohei Ohtani interpreter scandal

During the recent 2024 Associated Press Sports Editors Commissioners Meetings, Major League Baseball (MLB) commissioner Rob Manfred discussed MLB’s attitude towards legalized sports betting and the difficult balancing act the league has to make between embracing sports betting and safeguarding the integrity of the baseball game.

Commissioner Manfred Addresses Integrity Amid Ohtani Scandal Fallout

Commissioner Rob Manfred’s comments came in the wake of the recent Shohei Ohtani interpreter scandal which involved illegal gambling activities using millions of dollars. When asked about MLB’s stance regarding sports betting and gambling in general, Manfred underscored that the MLB has always been careful when it comes to the so-called prop bets due to concerns regarding the integrity of individual players, reported CBS Sports. Manfred highlighted the MLB’s commitment to upholding integrity and pointed out that the league has a dedicated integrity and compliance team.

Manfred also noted that in the Ohtani scandal, no athlete was implicated in any misconduct whatsoever. It was Shohei Ohtani’s interpreter, Ippei Mizuhara, who was accused of embezzling $16 million from the baseball star to fuel his gambling habit, funnelling the funds through a California bookmaker and Las Vegas casinos. 

Manfred also touched upon previous instances of misconduct, including the scandal with a coach from the University of Alabama, reiterating that the MLB’s integrity measures are quite efficient and on numerous occasions have managed to put a stop to suspicious gambling activity.

Manfred Reflects on MLB’s Role in Shifting Sports Betting Landscape

Notably, Manfred also made a reference to the Supreme Court case, Murphy vs. National Collegiate Athletic Association, which marked the beginning of legalized sports betting in the US. Manfred noted that initially the MLB was reluctant to participate but he also agreed that legalizing sports betting contributed to the bolstering of monitoring capabilities and mitigating illicit activities.

Jokingly, Manfred noted that the MLB was dragged into the case as a litigant and somehow it all ended in the Supreme Court eventually causing a major paradigm shift in the gambling market in the US. Despite this acknowledgement, Manfred maintained MLB’s commitment to safeguarding the game’s integrity.

Despite eventually embracing legalized sports betting, MLB’s approach to safeguarding the integrity of the game remains multifaceted, insisting on strict measures and aiming to preserve the integrity of the sport. Manfred’s comments show the intricate dynamics wherein the MLB is trying to balance the proliferation of sports betting across the US while upholding the principles of fair play and integrity.

Author

Silvia has dabbled in all sorts of writing – from content writing for social media to movie scripts. She has a Bachelor's in Screenwriting and experience in marketing and producing documentary films. With her background as a customer support agent within the gambling industry, she brings valuable insight to the Gambling News writers’ team.

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