The Baseball Writers Association of America (BWAA) has initiated a process to revise its bylaws, aiming to establish clearer guidelines for baseball journalists in the context of gambling. This move comes amid growing concerns about the potential influence of baseball insiders on betting odds, which could lead to personal gain. To address this, the BWAA is setting new regulations that will disallow baseball journalists from casting votes in awards if they have placed bets on the same.
The discussion around these changes occurred at the Baseball Winter Meetings in Nashville. As gambling becomes more ingrained in American sports, the need for definitive rules to prevent conflicts of interest among baseball journalists has become increasingly evident.
A key proposal under consideration, as reported by Forbes, is to prevent journalists who bet on baseball awards, such as the MVP or Cy Young, from voting in these categories. Members of the BWAA, excluding those from the Los Angeles Times and New York Times due to existing employer policies against such participation, traditionally select these awards.
Should these amendments be adopted, Major League Baseball (MLB) would be the first professional sports league in North America to prohibit media members from voting on individual athlete awards if they have placed bets on them.
The influence of insider information on betting odds is not limited to baseball. For instance, during the 2023 NFL Draft, a Reddit post led to a significant shift in the betting odds for Quarterback Will Levis, impacting his position from a predicted first pick to being selected 33rd by the Tennessee Titans.
Similarly, in basketball, NBA insider Shams Charania’s announcement on X (previously known as Twitter) about Scoot Henderson’s draft prospects significantly altered betting patterns, with many bettors losing money after placing bets on Henderson based on Charania’s information. These bets were notably placed through FanDuel, a company in a paid partnership with Charania.
While such dramatic shifts haven’t been observed in baseball betting, which is less popular compared to NFL and NBA betting, the BWAA’s initiative is a proactive step to maintain integrity and avoid any semblance of impropriety in sports journalism and betting.