Minor League Baseball Online Betting in the USA: Pros and Cons

Where can you bet on Minor League Baseball online?

In the USA, the only place to bet on MiLB is in Las Vegas, at a few limited casinos. Some of the offshore online sportsbooks offer it, but none of the ones allowed by the states do.

Yet.

Most people are of the opinion that it is only a matter of time before bettors are allowed to place wagers on minor league action at some or all of the levels of play. Minor League Baseball President Pat O’Conner knows that it is something that will most likely happen sometime in the future, be it near or far. In his interview with Baseball America, he spoke about how he wanted to limit the action to money line bets, and take proposition bets out of play, to limit the opportunities for players to influence the game.

The rise of baseball in-play proposition betting has taken the betting world by storm, and one would assume that the same trends would follow with minor league games if it was allowed. Since sports betting is new for many people, especially on bets that local bookies would never take (basically every bet other than a money line, point spread line, or over/under total), this new exposure could be a boon to a sport that is hurting right now for younger viewers. With the average age of fans that watch baseball on television creeping up to 60 years old, opening up something new to younger fans might be the boost baseball needs to help it catch back up to things like the Premier League, which has overtaken the sport in many demographics.

Here are some pros and cons as to why minor league baseball betting should be implemented around the country.

PROS to allowing expanding betting on Minor League Baseball:

1. Pace of play is a boon to bettors

While baseball is notoriously slow, so much so that it is falling behind sports like soccer among the younger generations, that pace of play is something that is very good for live betting.

With 20 seconds between each pitch, and more between at-bats, innings, and other breaks, people have more time to place bets on the action. Some experts think that in-play betting on baseball will be almost 80 percent of the action soon.

2. Many more games available each day

With Major League Baseball, there can be a maximum of 15 games (excluding doubleheader games) each day. Add in Triple-A and Double-A baseball and that number triples, and that is just for the higher levels of the minor leagues.

3. Triple-A baseball is pretty close to major league play

The level of play at Triple-A is just a notch below the majors, with many players that are on 40-man rosters, many that have spent time in the majors, and others that will be there at some point soon.

4. Bring exposure to more players

If people are betting games in the minor leagues, it would only make sense that they would research the players involved in the games. That exposure would be helpful, and possibly help ratings at the next level.

5. More people would buy the MiLB app, which means more money for MLB

If people are betting on minor league games, the MiLB app is really the only way to watch almost all of the games, as most teams do not have television contracts.

6. If you have knowledge of the minors, you can use that advantage

Bettors are always looking for an advantage to beat the house. Minor league baseball may offer the ultimate advantage to people that have a thorough knowledge of an organization, or of a specific league.

7. Minor league players would be paid more to fend off scandals

This should be done anyway since it is appalling how little players are paid. But if this forces MLB to make changes to the minor league play structure, it will only help the game.

CONS to allowing expanding Minor League Baseball Betting

1. Minor league players do not make a lot of money, opening players up to be influenced

The players in the minors make a pittance of what players do in the major leagues, sometimes just over $1500 a month even in the upper levels of the minor leagues. Major League Baseball has a minimum salary of $550,000.

Obviously, that could be easily rectified, if MLB decides to pay the minor league players a living wage. But players would still be susceptible, much like lower league players in European football.

2. Minor League teams are not set up to necessarily win games

There are multiple reasons betting a minor league game might not be the best idea. Major league players on rehab assignments are there to get back into game shape to get back to the big league club. A pitcher might be there to go 45 pitches and might be specifically working on a certain pitch after months off, meaning his control could be shoddy. Of course, he could come down to the minors and blow batters away, since he is a major league pitcher. It is really a crapshoot, which is never good for bettors.

Minor league teams are designed to get players ready for the major leagues. If they win games along the way, that is great and is part of learning the game. But the development of the players is first and foremost, and that may mean playing them in positions they are not used to yet, which could lead to errors and runs allowed.

3. Too much information to learn

Betting baseball is tough enough, with all the different variables involved. If you add in 150 new teams, or even just 60 at the top two levels, it will be challenging to handicap the games.

Pros and Cons to allowing expanding Minor League Baseball Betting
Should online Betting on Minor League Baseball be allowed in the United States?
Photo by Nick Jio 
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