The NBA Finds A Partner For Sports Gambling

Despite fighting against sports betting in New Jersey for a handful of years, the National Basketball Association is partnering with the owner of Atlantic City’s largest casino.

The deal is expected to capture a share of a U.S. sports betting market that could grow to nearly $16 billion if all states have regulated industries.

MGM Resorts International, owner of the Borgata casino-hotel, and the NBA announced a “multi-year partnership” that will make MGM Resorts the official sports betting partner of the NBA and WNBA. The Las Vegas-based casino operator owns the WNBA’s Las Vegas Aces.

“This historic partnership will bring millions of NBA fans and MGM Resorts guests together through an innovative collaboration that will open new and exciting opportunities to engage with each other’s world-class brands and products,” the groups said in a statement. “The partnership is the NBA’s first with a sports betting operator in the U.S. and is the first of its kind between MGM Resorts and a major professional sports league.”

Under the deal, MGM will use official NBA and WNBA data and branding, on a non-exclusive basis, across MGM Resorts’ land-based and digital sports betting products.

“As the landscape for sports betting in the U.S. continues to evolve at a rapid pace, MGM Resorts is a proven gaming leader for us to work with on this groundbreaking partnership,” said NBA Commissioner Adam Silver. “Our collaboration will result in the best possible gaming and entertainment experience for consumers through the use of accurate, real-time NBA and WNBA data, and our collective efforts to maintain and enhance the integrity of our games.”

In May, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned a federal law that banned single-game sports betting outside of Nevada. Now, seven states have legal sports betting, though not all of those have launched industries. MGM recently linked up with GVC Holdings for online sports betting.

A key component of the partnership is protecting game integrity, according to a news release. MGM and the NBA will use “anonymized real-time data sharing” to monitor the games.

The partnership further cements the casino giant’s foothold in the world of basketball. MGM has also been the title partner of the MGM Resorts NBA Summer League the last two years.

The deal was worked out despite the American casino lobby, which MGM is part of, blasting the NBA earlier this year for eyeing the so-called “integrity fee” from states and sports betting operators. The American Gaming Association said in a news release said that the NBA’s proposal would “skim money from American taxpayers.”

“To compensate leagues for the risk and expense created by betting and the commercial value our product creates for betting operators, we believe it is reasonable for operators to pay each league 1 percent of the total amount bet on its games,” the NBA said in testimony for a New York sports betting hearing. “This approach draws from how sports betting is legally regulated in some other international jurisdictions.”


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