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MLB enters lottery draw space with EquiLottery Games deal

Major League Baseball has making an entry into the realm of lottery draw games with a new multiyear deal with Kentucky-based EquiLottery Games.

The newly developed Baseball Bucks game will work similarly to a number-based lottery game such as Mega Millions or Powerball in which users will buy a $5 quick-pick ticket with 10 preselected MLB games, each with randomly selected winners. If users match up at least seven of those 10 winners with actual MLB game results, they will win prizes up to $1,000. EquiLottery says the odds of any Baseball Bucks ticket buyer winning something are 6-to-1, with the odds of hitting all 10 games on a ticket at 1,024-to-1.

MLB is billing this as the first time a US pro sports league is entering the lottery draw game category, and will provide EquiLottery Games will official team and league marks for use in Baseball Bucks. The game of chance is designed primarily as a fan engagement play that will appeal in part to more casual fans that are perhaps not participating in legalized sports wagering that relies heavily on skill.

“We are always aiming to work with partners who share our goal of providing innovative ways for fans to engage with live games,” said Kenny Gersh, MLB executive vice president of gaming and new business ventures. “Baseball Bucks is a completely new gaming opportunity for lottery players and baseball fans.”

The timetable for Baseball Bucks to hit the US market is undetermined as EquiLottery Games must work with individual state lottery boards to gain approval for sale in each relevant jurisdiction. But it is likely an initial rollout for Baseball Bucks in 2020 will be followed by broader deployment the following year, and EquiLottery Chief Executive Brad Cummings said “we’re in this for the long haul.” The company is also targeting similar deals with other US pro leagues.

“We see this as the beginning of a scenario where we’re engaged with all the team sports all 365 days of the year,” Cummings said.

 Cummings also said the somewhat modest components of Baseball Bucks are also a likely forerunner for the company toward larger, multistate efforts more like Powerball and Mega Millions offering far larger prizes.

EquiLottery has previously developed a lottery game based on live horse racing called Win Place Show, and has struck a deal with Speedway Motorsports for a auto racing game tentatively titled Race Car Cash.