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Nevada rejects MLB request to ban betting on spring training games

MLB asked Nevada regulators to ban spring training bets, but they declined. | AP Photo/Chris Carlson

LAS VEGAS — Nevada gambling regulators have rejected a request by Major League Baseball to ban betting on spring training games.

The Nevada Gaming Control Board said in a letter to MLB that casinos in Las Vegas and elsewhere have taken bets on exhibition baseball games for decades without problems.

The league asked for the ban on Wednesday last week, the day before the first scheduled spring training game between the Mariners and A’s, which was rained out. Bryan Seeley, MLB’s deputy general counsel, said in the request that wagers on spring training games carry “heightened security risks.” The league says the games are “more vulnerable to manipulation” because teams are focused on getting players ready for the season, not on winning.

Nevada Gaming Control Board Chairwoman Sandra Morgan responded Thursday saying sportsbooks have the proper controls in place to minimize concerns about players potentially fixing bets.

MLB acknowledged the tardiness of its request and said it planned to make similar requests in other states where sports betting has become legal since the U.S. Supreme Court ruled to allow expansion last year.