Gambling on MLS: A Two Part Series

For the last few years, LasVegas has been a popular candidate for MLS expansion.  Right now, that seems unlikely, but Vegas remains the go-to destination for legal sports gambling in the United States: unless you want to bet on MLS.  During a recent trip to Sin City, we went “sports book hopping” looking for betting lines on MLS matches  They were nowhere to be found.  We took a look at this issue briefly last year.  We will look at gambling in Vegas tonight and look at online options tomorrow.

In Vegas, you can bet the PGA, NASCAR and the first five innings of any baseball game, but MLS is not an option.  However, in every sports book I we saw, you could bet the EPL and there are World Cup prop bets aplenty.  When we spoke to Casino workers they indicated that they get very few inquiries for MLS betting.  Given the lack of interest, Vegas has little motivation to invest the time and energy into setting lines for MLS games.

The lack of betting seems like a small thing, but gambling presents an important opportunity to bring eyeballs to the League.  The NFL is incredibly popular, in large part because of the easy betting it provides.  In England, EPL betting is an enormous enterprise and adds excitement for millions.  MLS may not want to admit it, but getting itself into Vegas sports books would be an important step for the League.  Of course, it is bit of a chicken and egg issue; if nobody wants to bet the games, Vegas has little motivation to create lines.  Nevertheless, having gamblers interested in the League could allow the League to grow its TV audience.

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