This is a big deal, so to speak.
When the Supreme Court overturned a 1992 ruling which effectively banned sports betting everywhere but Nevada, the leagues immediately began campaigning for a 1% integrity fee on all bets to come from legal sports betting. This was met by scorn from the gambling industry and was mostly laughed at by observers. The industry felt any partnership with the leagues should come as a result of natural business agreement rather than a government-mandated tax.
We now have the first of those deals.
Today, the NBA and MGM announced their partnership
On Tuesday, commissioner Adam Silver announced that the league struck a deal that makes MGM Resorts the exclusive official gaming partner of the NBA and WNBA. MGM also receives the rights to use league highlights, logos and a direct data feed from the NBA that will be used to help fuel the company’s growing sports betting footprint.
Industry sources pegged the deal to be for three years and at least $25 million.
Silver said teaming up with the NBA will give MGM an edge over its competitors and produce a superior experience for customers.
“Those operators who create the best experience for consumers that have official data, that have the official imprimatur of our league and other leagues as well, are going to be those that win in the hearts and minds of consumers,” Silver said during an afternoon press conference in New York City to announce the partnership.
Jim Murren, CEO of MGM, sitting side by side with Silver, called the deal “historic.”
It is. This has been a long time in the works. Adam Silver was the first major professional sports commissioner to openly campaign for legal sports betting when he wrote an op-ed in the New York Times in 2014. Four years ago, we had Scott O’Neil on our podcast, and he talked about how sports betting was on its way.
So it should be no surprise that the NBA is the first league to enter into official partnership.
Most important, from a practical standpoint, is the use of direct data feeds. This opens up the possibility for near limitless live betting opportunities. By using an official data feed from the NBA, MGM has the ability to offer in-play bets based on official information, so things like shot distance, player speed, and other proprietary data is in play beyond just the traditional box score stats that can be siphoned from anywhere.
As we’ve discussed, real-time betting is where the future lies for sports betting, and having these official partnerships with the leagues will be crucial.
Interestingly, this partnership doesn’t include the ability to offer betting during live game streams, but something like that is a possibility down the line.
As for mobile sports betting, MGM CEO Jim Murren said today that the Borgata plans to offer it by the end of the week (MGM owns the Borgata). But it’s unclear what he means by that. In an interview with CNBC that seems to have caught the attention of everyone, Murren said “at the Borgata.” It’s possible he means betting from a mobile device within the casino, which by the way will be the only type of mobile betting in Mississippi. New Jersey plans to offer full online sports betting, but this might not be that just yet. If it is, it would be the first online sports betting option offered in New Jersey, though options from DraftKings and FanDuel are expected very soon.
Regardless, we’ll have a full review of the MGM app when it’s available, and for updates on sports betting, bonus codes, and the best odds, sign up to our email list: