MLB - Betcris

  • Major League Baseball has agreed to a deal with Malta-based Betcris to be its exclusive sports betting partner in Latin America.
  • This is MLB’s second major sports betting partnership, as FanDuel and MLB struck a similar deal for the U.S. market last year.
  • Baseball has a complicated history with sports betting, but MLB has shown a willingness to embrace the benefits of regulated sports betting in recent years.
  • Moving forward, the Latin American and Caribbean markets represent MLB’s best hope for continued financial growth.

VILLA SEMINIA, Malta – Betcris, a popular online sportsbook based in Malta, has reached an agreement with Major League Baseball to become the league’s “official sports betting partner” in Latin America.

The deal is structured similarly to other landmark sports betting deals in the U.S., with provisions allowing Betcris access to “official MLB Data, league marks, and logos for its website and other wagering platforms.”

Major League Baseball has traditionally been a fierce opponent of legal sports betting, arguing in the past that it would represent a threat to the integrity of its games.

Like other leagues, MLB’s stance on legal sports betting has softened since the Supreme Court overturned PASPA, especially as the monetization opportunities of sports gambling have become clear.

MLB already has a partnership in place for U.S.-based sports betting operations with FanDuel. As Betcris is not licensed to operate in the U.S. any longer, the new deal should have no effect on existing partnerships.

The deal appears to exclusively serve the Latin American market, a region saturated with baseball talent, interest in sports betting, and interest in baseball as a whole.

Sports Betting And MLB – What Does The Future Hold?

Baseball has two very important conflicting traits when it comes to its relationship with betting on the MLB.

On one hand, its commitment to data and analytics (along with its everyday schedule) should make it a perfect fit for sports betting. On another, its commitment to traditionalism, as well as its volatile history with illegal sports betting, casts a shadow on the game’s relationship with the activity.

In 1919, eight members of the Chicago White Sox were paid to throw the World Series against the Cincinnati Reds in what is now known as the Black Sox scandal.

In 1985, MLB’s all-time leading hitter, Pete Rose, was banned for life from baseball for betting on his own team’s games while managing the Reds.

Even as public attitudes toward gambling become more favorable, those past stains on the league’s reputation still linger today. And the league has been understandably hesitant to fully embrace sports betting, even in its current, well-regulated form. But the deals with Betcris and FanDuel indicate that MLB might finally be moving on from its long-held reservations about sports betting. The future of baseball betting looks bright.

MLB And Latin America – The Next Top Market For Baseball

Latin America and the Caribbean have become major pipelines for baseball talent in the last few decades, with teams mining Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Venezuela, and other countries for top talent.

Star players like Jose Altuve, Albert Pujols, Felix Hernandez, Miguel Cabrera, and David Ortiz began their careers in Latin America, and their success has helped cultivate a passionate MLB fan base throughout the region.

While the relationship between MLB and Latin America remains problematic in many ways, it also likely represents the future of baseball.

MLB’s popularity in the U.S. has been stagnant for years, and as other leagues reach unprecedented financial heights, MLB is comparatively stuck in neutral.

Latin American countries represent a vast, largely untapped market for the league, and if it is to remain financially competitive with the NFL and NBA, MLB will need to continue to find new ways to expand into that new market.

The deal with Betcris is a good start, but expect more drastic moves in the years to come.

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