It appears Major League Baseball, despite not getting a slice of the legalized sports gambling pie from states that approved sports betting, has no problem with sports gambling. The Chicago Cubs ownership may go after a gambling license and have a sportsbook at Wrigley Field in the future and there are also some curious words from Major League Baseball’s general counsel Brian Seeley about betting. “Imagine a game that is not competitive in the late innings but continues to attract people’s interest because they can engage with that game through sports betting.” It is an eye opening statement until you realize that Major League Baseball’s average fan is 57 years old and about 44 percent of today’s average sports gambler appears to be under the age of 35. As more states get online with betting, a clearer picture will emerge of the average sports gambler. Major League Baseball wants to go after those who are under 35 and while those sports bettors might not be avid baseball fans, they could count as baseball viewers and could eventually generate more marketing partner money for the Major League Baseball industry.
If Cubs ownership does put a sportsbook in its ballpark, how does that square with Major League Baseball’s Rule 21 (D) that hangs on every clubhouse wall? “Any player, umpire, or club or league official or employee, who shall bet any sum whatsoever upon any baseball game in connection with which the bettor has a duty to perform shall be declared permanently ineligible.” Baseball personnel cannot bet on games but fans can bet and may get upset at a player or two or three if any in- game bet goes the wrong way. There used to be signs visible to everyone in the stadium of no betting allowed. It’s changing because for the owners money can be made.