Major League Baseball has announced a partnership with Sport Integrity Monitor (SportIM), a London-based sports data and tech firm, for real-time monitoring of betting lines.
The partnership was made to ensure that the “integrity of MLB events remain beyond reproach in a fast-changing online global landscape,” per a release.
Fantasy sports have been under close watch 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.
Baseball gambling is already regulated by legal sports books in Nevada. But this partnership with SportIM offers additional security: the software monitors millions of live and pre-match odds across multiple sports in regulated and unregulated wagering markets.
Keith Miller, a law professor at Drake University, said he thinks the move is preemptive. The 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.
Sports books in Nevada offer a buffer against match fixing, but now the MLB can say, "We’re going to partner with a company that’s giving us a real-time assessment, and it’s not a casino, and it’s not a sports book," Miller said. Integrity of the matches is what comes first, Miller added, and going forward, if there’s any question of game fixing, “[The MLB] will know it right away and will be able to respond.”
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 than predicted.