The intersection of fantasy sports and gambling continue to encroach upon actual sports, and to affect the business of all three.
MediaPost reported that Major League Baseball has now announced a partnership with Sport Integrity Monitor (SportIM), a London-based sports data and tech firm, for real-time monitoring of betting lines, including those in fantasy baseball.
The partnership was made to ensure that the “integrity of MLB events remain beyond reproach in a fast-changing online global landscape,” noted a release.
Fantasy sports have been under scrutiny lately. Last month, the Wall Street Journal reported that the Justice Department and FBI are probing whether daily fantasy sports businesses violate federal law, and daily fantasy sites DraftKings and FanDuel were banned in Nevada. It was just the latest salvos in a rapidly developing conflict.
Earlier this fall, the NCAA banned all advertising from DraftKings and FanDuel during March Madness and in all online content, labeling such leagues as gambling. In May, the NFL had refused to allow its players to appear at the National Fantasy Football Convention, noting it violated a clause in their contract that states players could not participate in events sponsored by casinos. And just before Thanksgiving, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman ordered DraftKings and FanDuel to stop taking bets in the state, concluding that they are vehicles for illegal sports betting.
So where does the work of SportIM factor into this equation?
According to MediaPost, baseball gambling is already regulated by legal sports books in Nevada. But this partnership offers additional security: the software monitors millions of live and pre-match odds across multiple sports in regulated and unregulated wagering markets. And according to some analysts, MLB has a vested interest in not having games fixed, and it probably wants to lay a foundation for how the sport handles legalized betting outside Nevada. Stepping outside the gambling Mecca that state affords means more impartiality in assessments, they note.
Last month, the commissioners of the MLB, the NFL and the NBA told ESPN Radio's "Mike & Mike" that they don't consider daily fantasy games gambling -- but they agreed the games need regulation.
SportIM works with English Premier League, the Football Association and others. Its monitoring software uses algorithms to automatically send alerts when global betting markets behave differently from the outcomes predicted.