Las Vegas Sportsbooks Taking Bets on Minor League Baseball Games

Posted on: April 7, 2019, 02:55h. 

Last updated on: April 7, 2019, 02:55h.

The Las Vegas Aviators started their baseball season on Thursday against the El Paso Chihuahuas. However, not all of the action for the Minor League club took place on the diamond.

Las Vegas Aviators shortstop Jorge Mateo fields a groundball in a Saturday evening game against the El Paso Chihuahuas. Last month, the Nevada Gaming Commission opened the door for local sportsbooks to accept bets on Aviators games this season. (Image: El Paso Chihuahuas)

Prior to the Aviators starting its season, the Nevada Gaming Commission agreed to throw out a 34-year-old order that precluded sportsbooks in the state from taking bets on professional baseball games played in the state.

On March 28, during its monthly meeting, the Nevada commission officially removed that provision. The board needed to take the action after making other changes to the regulation in February because of a special order tied specifically to baseball.

So, when Opening Day hit a week later Station Casinos announced its facilities would take bets on the team’s games.

“We will have lines for every #Aviators game this season, including tonight’s game,” Station Casinos posted on its Twitter account. The company added it would accept bets at any of its retail sportsbooks in the Las Vegas area or through its online application.

Jeff Sherman, the vice president for risk management at Westgate Resorts SuperBook also confirmed on social media that they will offer betting lines on the Aviators games as well.

Baseball Betting Not Big

According to data from the University of Nevada at Las Vegas’ Center for Gaming Research, it’s unlikely betting on Minor League Baseball (MiLB) will give the state’s sportsbooks much of a boost.

David Schwartz, the director of the UNLV center, reported Nevada bettors wagered $16.3 billion on baseball since 1992. During the same amount of time, gamblers put down $31.9 billion on football.

The nearly 2-to-1 edge for football occurs even though Major League Baseball teams play more games. There are 2,430 MLB games in a regular season. The National Football league plays 256 regular season games annually. While there are roughly 715 regular season games pitting two college football bowl subdivision teams.

However, the NGC Chairman told the Las Vegas Review-Journal the move allows sportsbooks to decide whether to offer MiLB games.

“There’s no appetite to ever say to any professional team we’re not going to book your bets,” Tony Alamo said.

Minor League’s Concerns

Last month, the president of Minor League Baseball expressed his sports betting concerns to the Boston Herald. Those concerns, though, focused more on the expansion of sports betting across the country.

Pat O’Conner noted that MiLB would take proactive measures to ensure that its games would not be affected. He said his concerns not only were about the players, who make just a fraction of what major leaguers earn. Umpires and scorekeepers also could be affected by the sports betting’s expansion, too, he said.

On Friday, an MiLB spokesman told the league it is concerned about the Nevada actions.

Minor League Baseball believes that there should not be betting on Minor League games because the Minor Leagues are focused on development of both players and umpires, and we do not believe that betting creates a healthy environment for player and umpire development,” said Jeff Lantz, the league’s senior director of communications.