For generations, baseball’s leadership has viewed gambling as the sport’s boogeyman, a threat to the integrity of the game that must be stamped out. If the lifetime bans meted out after the Black Sox scandal in 1919 and to Pete Rose in 1989 were not reminders enough, then there are the warnings posted in every major league clubhouse.
So, when Major League Baseball announced an agreement on Tuesday with MGM Resorts as the sport’s first gambling industry partner, it signaled again just how furiously sports are rushing to embrace the industry since the Supreme Court effectively struck down a federal law earlier this year that had served to ban sports betting in most states.
Baseball’s agreement comes after the N.B.A. and the N.H.L. also reached deals with MGM since July. It allows MGM to promote its gambling options on platforms like MLB Network, MLB.com and the MLB At Bat app.
Commissioner Rob Manfred viewed the arrangement as a long-term partnership that he hoped would reverse a troubling trend: declining attendance.