One might not think that baseball, compared to global sports like soccer and basketball, or a massive gambled-on sport like the NFL, would have gambling on their minds as a way to disrupt the game. However “America’s Game” has been marred by scandal in the past, and recently, the sport in Japan has been hit by a game-fixing scandal, with the Yomiuri Giants being handed an $800,000 fine earlier today.
So maybe it isn’t that surprising that MLB, under the progressive leadership of Rob Manfred, today announced a partnership with a company known for keeping some of Europe’s biggest leagues, The English Premier League, Euroleague Basketball and the Football Association among them, scandal free when it comes to data and gambling. Sport Integrity Monitor announced their new partnership with MLB, and marking the first time any of the U.S. professional leagues have taken an advanced pre-emptive strike of such a larger scale to prevent issues in the future with regard to game fixing and the compromising of data in markets like Nevada where gambling is now legal in the U.S., as well as the millions of dollars that is gambled overseas.
“Major League Baseball is pleased to work with Sport Integrity Monitor in this vital area, as this partnership will be an essential part of our initiatives to protect the game’s integrity. We look forward to making use of SportIM’s expertise and market-leading monitoring solutions in order to ensure that we have accurate and timely intelligence,” Dan Halem, Chief Legal Officer of MLB, said in the release.
SportIM will monitor vast amounts of sports and wagering related data and statistics on behalf of MLB and report trends in real time. This new expanded monitoring program will help keep baseball at the forefront of security innovation as the global interest in baseball grows and fans in the United States and beyond move online to follow the action. The new partnership is an extension of MLB’s tough anti-corruption policy and its wide-ranging initiatives already in place. These proactive steps help to ensure that fans are always treated to a fair and transparent game, players have the utmost belief in having a winning mind-set, and league representatives are equipped with information and tools to maintain a clean, honest and exhilarating sport.
As legal sports gambling becomes more front and center in the United States, and the issues with DFS continue along, the integrity of data streams, as well as the credibility of those in the field, will come more into focus. While there is apparently no issue with MLB being compromised now, this move sends a loud and clear message to all that baseball is watching, and looking for improprieties, and that pre-emptive strike will be very helpful in maintaining security and integrity on and off the diamond for years to come for a game whose focus on technology and global growth is paramount.