NGCB declines MLB's request to prohibit betting on spring training games

The Nevada Gaming Control Board has declined Major League Baseball's request to prohibit betting on spring training games.

The league had recently submitted a written request to the NGCB asking that spring training games be taken off the board at the state's regulated sportsbooks.

In declining MLB's request, the NGCB wrote, "Based on our history and experience in regulating sports wagering, we are not inclined to prohibit our licensed sports books from taking wagers on MLB Spring Training games. We have a common goal to combat sports bribery and maintain the integrity of your sport, and are available to discuss ways we can work together in this effort."

Major League Baseball said spring training games carried "heightened integrity risks," in part because players are not expected to give maximum effort, and that the expansion of sports betting beyond Nevada exacerbates that risk.

"Spring Training games are exhibition contests in which the primary focus of Clubs and players is to prepare for the coming season rather than to win games or perform at maximum effort on every single play. These games are not conducive to betting and carry heightened integrity risks, and states should not permit bookmakers to offer bets on them," the league said in a statement. "Limited and historically in-person betting on Spring Training in one state did not pose nearly the same integrity risks that widespread betting on Spring Training in multiple states will pose."

Spring training games began Monday, and odds were already posted for Tuesday's 12-game slate at sportsbooks in Nevada and New Jersey.

Betting on baseball's exhibition games is minimal, bookmakers say, but has been traditionally offered at sportsbooks in Nevada and offshore.

Legal sportsbooks are currently operating in eight states. In addition, Arkansas and New York have passed legislation to allow regulated sports betting, and 28 states have introduced sports betting bills this year.

The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board told ESPN on Tuesday that it also received a request from Major League Baseball to prohibit wagering on spring training games. The PGCB has asked its sports betting operators to refrain from offering wagers on spring training games while it examines MLB's concerns.

The Mississippi Gaming Commission said it received a similar letter from MLB on Tuesday afternoon and also was considering the issue.