The newly introduced regulations could impact on Marian Ilitch and her family, particularly her son Christopher Ilitch, who is majority owner of MLB team Detroit Tigers.
Robert Manfred, current Commissioner of Baseball and former Chief Operating Officer of Major League Baseball (MLB) commented:
“The general rule will remain that if the club has an interest in a sportsbook, it can’t take bets on that club.”
Manfred elaborated on details relating to allowing sports betting and MLB team ownership:
“The rule does contemplate that there could be an exception provided that there are certain safeguards built in. The safeguards would essentially ensure that there is no controlled input whatever from the club to the betting operator, has to be a completely independent betting operator.”
In 1999, Marian Ilitch invested in MotorCity Casino and became the sole owner in the year 2005.
It is not yet clear when the regulation will be introduced and finalised.
However, if the exception is made, MotorCity Casino will be allowed to start taking wagers on MLB matches as early as the next MLB season, which begins on 26th March 2020.
Executive Vice President, Gaming and New Business Ventures at Major League Baseball since 2018 Kenny Gersh said:
“Generally, under our policies, if an owner of a team also owns a sports betting operation, that owner wouldn’t be able to take bets on that owner’s team.”
“We’re looking to adapt our policies to see if there’s a way that if there is a separation between the owner of a club and the operations of a sportsbook as it relates to baseball, then we may get comfortable with it. We are working closely with the Ilitch family on making sure they can offer a compelling product to sports fans without having a conflict. We wouldn’t want any of our owners to benefit one way or another on whether their team wins or loses the game.”