NBA Announces Partnership with MGM
On Tuesday, NBA commissioner Adam Silver announced that the league has agreed to a sponsorship deal with MGM, which will make it the first American professional sports league to establish a betting partnership.
The new agreement will give MGM exclusive rights to NBA highlights, logos, names and a direct data feed in addition to having the opportunity to market itself as the official gaming partner of both the NBA and WNBA. According to ESPN, the deal is a 3-year pact worth a minimum of $25 million.
This doesn’t exactly come as a surprise considering Silver and the NBA have been vocally more progressive when it comes to the idea of gambling than some others like the NFL’s Roger Goodell or Major League Baseball’s Rob Manfred. Silver has not been shy about openly discussing the idea of betting on the NBA and the way the league can take advantage of the burgeoning industry.
The NBA has wanted any potential gaming partners to compensate the league for the “commercial value of its intellectual property,” and MGM was apparently willing to do just that.
Further details of the pact are currently unknown, so we do not yet know whether the NBA will receive an “integrity fee” which would give the league a cut of the money wagered on NBA games. The NBA was reportedly hopeful it would be able to land between 0.20 percent and 1 percent of all money wagered on the NBA in order to help compensate for any additional compliance costs that may emerge as sports betting becomes increasingly legalized around the United States.
The American Gaming Association is reportedly a strong opponent of the idea of an integrity fee because they believe it is an unfair tax on operators that already work with thin margins.
The NBA is the first American professional sports league to grant a betting operator license to use official logos on boards at their casinos. Bettors can view NBA highlights on the MGM mobile app, as well, which will be available to any states that legalize and regulate sports wagering. Nevada is currently the only state that offers legalized mobile betting, while New Jersey is expected to be the next state to follow suit sometime in August.
On Monday MGM and VGC Holdings announced a joint operation worth $100 million in order to create a new online gaming platform. MGM has also partnered with Boyd Gaming in order to let companies eventually offer online and mobile sports wagering once it becomes legal in certain states.
The NBA is clearly playing the long game here, as most states have not yet legalized sports gambling. Most of the money figures to come 3-to-5 years down the road, when more than 20 states are expected to have passed legislation in order to regulate and legalize sports betting.
The decision to allow MGM to use the NBA’s direct data feed should enhance the live betting experience, as well. Some bettors have complained in the past about the slower third-party data feeds that come with betting on hoops. This move figures to ease those concerns.
MGM currently owns casino properties in Nevada, Mississippi, Maryland and New Jersey. A new property is expected to open up in Massachusetts next month, as well. Back in May MGM also announced that it plans to purchase the rights to Empire City Casino in Yonkers, New York.
This also isn’t the first time the NBA and MGM have done business. MGM purchased the right’s to the WNBA’s Las Vegas Aces franchise after receiving unanimous approval from the NBA’s and WNBA’s Board of Governors. MGM Resorts is also the title sponsor for the NBA’s Las Vegas Summer League, which takes place every July.
Reports indicate that about $1.5 billion was bet on basketball at Nevada sports books last year. The Nevada Gaming Control board does not separate NBA and WNBA betting from college hoops in terms of revenue. The NBA reportedly accounts for between 40 and 50 percent of the total amount bet on the sport.
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