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New On Major League Soccer’s Website: Gambling Odds From Bet MGM

As Major League Soccer continues toward its MLS is Back Tournament, scheduled to begin on July 8, the league website is featuring a new detail in it’s match schedule: gambling odds from bookmaker Bet MGM.

On the rolling schedule ticker atop, Bet MGM’s odds on a wager to win for each team are included in every match listing for the first 12 group games of the competition.

For example, Orlando City are listed at +200 to win the tournament opener, meaning if you bet $100 dollars, you would win $200. Opposing Inter Miami CF are listed at +120, meaning a payout of $120 for a $100 bet. (Odds for a draw are not shown.) There is also a link to the oddsmaker on the right side of the rolling scoreboard.

The league has been open about its embrace of sports betting as a way to reach more consumers since a United States Supreme Court ruling allowed the possibility for all 50 states to legalize that form of gambling.

In early 2019, MLS Commissioner Don Garber left open the possibility that sports books could operate in the league’s stadiums. Shortly after, the league officially announced a partnership with Bet MGM. Then in June of last year, the league announced that it would allow MLS teams to include betting companies as jersey sponsors (as well as companies selling distilled spirits.)

D.C. United became the first team to take advantage of that rule to open the 2020 season, announcing a partnership with Caesars Sports that included a sponsor patch on the team’s jersey sleeve and potential future on-sight betting at Audi Field.

To begin the 2020 season, the league announced a free weekly Pick 6 prediction competition for fans, with Bet MGM as the naming partner.

The latest move to list odds on the league’s website appears to be the first such endeavor on an official web domain of a major North American sports league. And while it may feel out of place for fans in America and Canada, oddsmakers are often given similar level visibility elsewhere in the soccer world. Many teams in European leagues have had visible sponsorship agreements with sports books over the years. Fans of the English Premier League PINC may even recognize live odds promoted on electronic dashboards that surround the playing surface at most stadiums.

It’s unclear whether wagering opportunities with Bet MGM will become even more visible on the league’s website in the weeks and months to come, as MLS plans to eventually resume and complete its regular season. (The league did not immediately respond to a request for comment.) But barring major blowback, MLS will likely continue to position itself as a leader in embracing the gambling industry as a way of increasing the league’s visibility.

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