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Blackjack Table

Wagers Costing Wages - Is the increased abundance of betting advertising hypocritical in baseball?

Gambling on sports is nothing new since gambling became a thing there was always something to bet on and sports is the perfect thing for gambling companies to focus on because of the unpredictability of sports and the fact that there are so many ever-changing markets that can be bet on. In the UK a lot of sports gambling in brought together in what we call an accumulator or in the US a parlay. This is basically then two or more bets are layered into the same bet where all bets must be won to win the wager. This however also has increased the number of type of bets that can be placed leading to more gambling especially on sports. In baseball you might be thinking for example I think the Los Angeles Dodgers win this game but if I bet Mookie Betts will have 2 hits and Freddie Freeman will get a home run tying these 3 bets together in a parlay means now instead of winning $10 from my $5 bet I can win $150 if my bet comes in. This is the new way gambling companies entice and encourage people to bet. It’s all about what can we do to entice the customer to bet.

So, what is the best way to get people thinking of making a bet to bet, it’s the in-your-face constant marketing and advertising that many sports not just baseball have now employed it’s everywhere. Before the game, as the game starts and more recently as the picture in picture screen is shared mid game explaining how a person can make a bet. It’s been more noticeable this season in baseball that the in-game picture in picture now has the gambling advert as the big screen taking up 75% of my tv screen and the actual game I’m trying to watch taking up the additional 25% of the screen.


So why is this so prevalent now, gambling has been part of sports for so long, however it seems like we are seeing more and more players getting caught up in betting scenarios and betting trouble. It seems a little bit of an issue when the entity standing to make the most from gambling this coming year outside of the betting companies is not someone gambling on the sport but MLB itself from the sheer amount of money they are being paid to constantly have these adverts and promotions on the screen and in the stadiums.


The MLB are not doing anything wrong they are simply using their platform to generate additional revenue streams will they are fully entitled to do. The money is vast though hundreds of millions of additional funds will continue to be generated through these ads and endorsements in 2024 and what is the adverts gearing people to do? Spend the money on wagers on the potential outcomes happening during the game. Obviously adverts work they have worked for nearly 100 years now. From fast food to drinks to cosmetic products through to physical items billions is spent every year to make a product a mass market appeal. Adverts are a desire of what a product or service can do for you. Companies are not going to ever advertise the downside of their product or service. A fast-food chain for example will not advertise their delicious new double burger with the tagline “Wanna make your cholesterol higher” it’s not really how promotions work. For baseball players it is everywhere in the different grounds they spend their time in everyday in the endorsements seen around the game and on the sheer number of aspects of the game you can now bet on. Is it any wonder why having something so in your face could give somebody who has the inclination to make a bet the desire to want to pursue this.


At the start of the season Shohei Ohtani got caught up in a betting storm when it was found that millions of dollars had been wired out of his bank account to an illegal bookie. A lifetime ban for MLB’s cash cow and number one star would have been the worst thing that could have happened to the sport. Now it turns out that this was all done by Ohtani’s best friend and interpreter Ippei Mizuhara and a full investigation completed by the FBI has concluded this was nothing to do with Ohtani and Mizuhara has pled fully guilty to all the charges laid against him. The MLB are of course happy with this. If Ohtani has been guilty of anything though it is not keeping an eye on who he has around him and his finances. This quite frankly would have been a disaster for MLB as the precedent for lifetime bans for anyone directly betting on involvement of gambling in games they are connected to must be upheld it doesn’t matter if you are a minor league player yet to be called up or the biggest superstar of the sport.


It seems however there has been a crackdown of suspicious betting as five players have been banned after being connected to gambling. The only major league player of the five was Tucupita Marcano from the San Diego Padres who has been given a lifetime ban. A player who while injured playing for the Pittsburgh Pirates placed 387 bets on games including Pirates games according to MLB. MLB confirmed that in the over $150,000 he had bet he only won around 4.3% of bets (this would equate to less than $7000 in winnings). The irony of the winnings is that he has lost so much more in potential earnings betting to win essentially nothing compared to what he has gambled. We have an injured player with more money than he has ever seen recovering from injury with more time on his hands than he ever would have if he was fit and playing. Most likely spending hours watching the sport he is involved in indeed even the organisation he is involved in and because he is not travelling with the team around the country while being injured he is being subjected to an insane amount of gambling advertising encouraging him to do the thing that ultimately means he won’t have the means to play and accumulate the earnings he has spent on gambling.


It is a full circle the MLB influx of gambling into the games is most likely the thing that has cost a player from playing in the MLB. Will this stop MLB and other sports subjecting viewers to place that elusive bet? Of course not baseball is not the only sport where this is happening either in recent years we have seen players banned from cricket including players from the Pakistan national team in 2010 for spot fixing (arranging outcomes of games for other people to bet on) and most recently in football high profile players like Sandro Tonali and Ivan Toney and received lengthy bans over gambling on sports they are involved in. Will this be the last of this, certainly not. If we round this off with an analogy if someone is constantly bringing treats to a health club full of people trying to get in shape someone eventually is going to take the cake.

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