June 11, 2024 3 min read


Fact-checked by Angel Hristov

MLB Players Reveal a Surge in Gambling-Related Threats

Many athletes believe that sports wagering creates a toxic atmosphere among fans who blame them for their betting losses

Major League Baseball (MLB) players are increasingly expressing concerns over their safety due to a surge in gambling-related threats. MLB’s ongoing partnerships with leading gambling companies have caused the frequency and severity of menacing messages directed at baseball players to escalate dramatically. Athletes advocate for improved gambling harm prevention measures and sweeping reforms to protect the sport’s integrity.

Gambling Losses Can Cause Fan Resentment

The advent of legal sports betting has introduced a new wave of hostile interactions from bettors who lose money and seek someone to blame. Speaking for USA TODAY Sports, Arizona Diamondbacks closer Paul Sewald noted that more fans were shifting their focus from team allegiance to personal financial loss, making threats more personal and aggressive.

Athletes are getting increasingly more aggressive messages, including death threats. Diamondbacks reliever Logan Allen recalled how a fan followed him to his home after a particularly unsuccessful game and started threatening him. Some of these cases even require police intervention, highlighting the severity of the situation.

I had a really bad game, and this guy follows me home and starts cussing at me, telling me I cost him all of this money. It’s scary.

Logan Allen

The MLB Players Association has mandated that teams proactively curb abusive fan behavior. Club policies must include prohibitions against betting-related, abusive speech, and players must have access to a safety hotline to report threats or improper conduct. However, these measures have proven inadequate as the frequency of threats continues to grow.

There Is No Easy Solution

The issue extends beyond verbal abuse. Some fans have gone as far as requesting payment for their lost bets, holding athletes accountable. With the increasing prevalence of sports betting, the threats and harassment are unlikely to dissipate. Even fans who face legal action for their threats get away relatively lightly, with sentences usually limited to probation or home confinement.

The increasing integration of gambling with baseball has not only affected players but also raised concerns about the sport’s integrity. While athletes cannot gamble directly, many face increasing pressure to provide inside information on games, giving select individuals an edge in their predictions. With so much money on the line, the principles of fair play face enormous strain.

It’s tough because it’s such a fine line. The more people bet on our sport, the more people are watching. The more people watch, the richer we all get, right?

Paul Sewald

Despite the financial benefits of sports wagering sponsorships, the repercussions of this relationship are becoming increasingly evident as players face heightened risks and the sport grapples with the consequences. Unless the MLB takes drastic action, the threats and harassment are unlikely to dissipate as fan focus shifts more toward betting wins and away from the beauty of the sport.

Deyan is an experienced writer, analyst, and seeker of forbidden lore. He has approximate knowledge about many things, which he is always willing to apply when researching and preparing his articles. With a degree in Copy-editing and Proofreading, Deyan is able to ensure that his work writing for GamblingNews is always up to scratch.

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