MLB Authorizes Gaming Operator FanDuel

Aug 13

FanDuel Group and Major League Baseball have recently signed a multi-year partnership agreement, making the fantasy and sports betting operator the third to be named Authorized Gaming Operator of the MLB.

This is a landmark deal for FanDuel, as it is their first partnership with the MLB or an MLB team. As an Authorized Gaming Operator, it will now have the ability to use MLB data, marks, and logos across its retail sportsbook locations and online sports betting products. The financial terms of the deal have not been disclosed. What the official press release stated is that in-play wagering is “a large part of the sports betting experience,” and that access to MLB’s data feed enables FanDuel to enhance in-play experience.

Asked for comment, FanDuel Group President and COO Kip Levin said in a press statement: “Fantasy sports and sports betting have become a national pastime in their own right, so it’s natural to join forces with Major League Baseball. MLB clearly understands how working together can be beneficial for baseball fans and both companies alike.”

“Baseball is one of the most popular sports to bet on and partnering with MLB allows us to make the betting experience even better for our customers,” Levin added. “With an enhanced betting experience, sports fans are watching more baseball as they have a stake in the game.”

For their part, MLB Executive Vice President for Gaming and New Business Ventures Kenny Gersh has this to say: “FanDuel has proven itself to be a leader in the sports betting space and has shifted a step ahead again through its commitment to, and recognition of, the value in being an authorized gaming operator. Now having access to our official sports betting data feeds and MLB brands, we’re looking forward to the creative sports betting and fan experience innovations FanDuel will develop.”

In May of 2018, the Supreme Court of the United States overturned the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) of 1992, which banned sports betting in the country, except in Nevada where sportsbooks were legal. The decision paved the way for other states to legalize sports betting and has led to a significant rise in sports betting in the United States.

Amidst this rise in sports betting, the MLB has been extra cautious in moving towards monetization. They have a history of aversion to betting of all kinds, dating back to the 1919 World Series and the scandal that accompanied gambler Arnold Rothstein’s success in fixing the results. They took their first step towards becoming more open to betting activities in November 2018, when they named MGM Resorts International as the first official gaming partner.

Their second foray into the world of gambling came just recently, when they named DraftKings as an Authorized Gaming Operator. The extreme caution they’re taking and the fact that they are going into these partnerships very carefully makes their decision to enter into an agreement with FanDuel a clear vote of confidence in the betting operator capability and integrity.