In what could be a landmark moment in US sports betting, the NBA have announced MGM as their official gaming partner, becoming the first of the US major sports leagues to team up with a sportsbook provider.
Basketball’s pro league will receive $25 million over the course of the three-year deal, while MGM will get the rights to NBA highlights, the league and team logos, access to the NBA’s official data feed and will be credited as the ‘official gaming partner’ of the NBA and WNBA.
Though the money the NBA will receive as part of the deal is relatively small income for the league, the making of this deal creates a market for their direct data feed that may open up new business from MGM’s competitors, in what could ultimately prove to be a very shrewd maneuver.
Though Nevada sportsbooks aren’t currently using the feed, the NBA believe that the feed’s reliable and available data will become an increasingly valuable tool for in-game betting, a market that is expected to boom in the States in the coming months with plenty of new gambling websites popping up.
Punters will still be able to bet on the NBA at non-MGM sportsbooks as the only exclusive right of the deal is that MGM can market itself as the league’s official gaming partner. In the States of Delaware, Nevada, New Jersey and now Mississippi, sports gambling is legal with all of those but Delaware possessing MGM sportsbooks.
The deal could be the catalyst for the NFL and other leagues to conduct similar business, with the decision-makers involved sure to be keeping a close eye on how successful this partnership ultimately proves to be. You only have to look across the Atlantic however to see that the likelihood of the this venture being a success is pretty much inevitable.
Sports betting has historically been a heavily restricted commodity in the United States, a stark contrast from the flooded UK market where the gambling industry as a whole takes £14bn a year. But with prohibition already coming to an end in Delaware, New Jersey and Mississippi (up until earlier this year, betting on a single sports event in the US was only permitted in Nevada) change is coming thick and fast. New York, Rhode Island, West Virginia and Pennsylvania will all follow suit in the near future.
When you look at the size of the potential financial pie, it’s not hard to see why the powers that be want to take a slice.