Washington Law Review

Comment

All Bets Are Off: Preempting Major League Baseball’s Monopoly on Sports Betting Data

October 01, 2020 | 95 Wash. L. Rev. 1537

Abstract

Major League Baseball is in the process of collectivizing data used in sports betting. This could be exempt from antitrust scrutiny if the conduct falls within the “business of baseball.” Such an exemption raises the question of whether collecting official league data is sufficiently attenuated from the “business of baseball” to be subject to antitrust law, and if so, whether MLB violates the Sherman Act by excluding competitors from the league data market. This Comment makes a two-fold argument. First, it argues that the “business of baseball” should be constrained to cover activities directly linked to putting on baseball games. Second, this Comment argues that the collectivization of official league data for sports betting is not within the “business of baseball,” and that MLB is potentially violating the Sherman Act for excluding competitors through anticompetitive means. The unique “business of baseball” exemption has existed for almost one hundred years without limit, but that does not mean professional baseball can restrain trade in every industry it deals.

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