The NBA is diving head first into the world of sports betting.
The league announced Tuesday that it has aligned with MGM Resorts International in a partnership that will make MGM the NBA’s official gaming partner. That’s a first for a major professional sports league in the United States.
“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.”
The value of the agreement has not been disclosed, but ESPN is reporting its value to be “at least” $25 million over three years.
The partnership also allows MGM to use official NBA and WNBA data and branding, including team logos, “across MGM Resorts’ land-based and digital sports betting offerings” around the country. In turn, MGM will be promoted “across the NBA’s digital assets,” including NBA TV, NBA.com, the NBA app and the NBA’s social media platforms.
In a press conference, Silver said the designation — “the official gaming partner of the NBA” — is the only thing that makes the deal exclusive to MGM.
“(MGM CEO) Jim (Murren) very well understood that there’s a common interest in the entire industry in ensuring that there be an experience that’s one of integrity for all sports bettors regardless of what operator they happen to be doing business with,” Silver said. “Jim understood we also would be in the business of licensing our intellectual property, specifically our real-time data feed, to other casinos as well.”
The news comes on the heels of the United States Supreme Court’s May decision that ruled the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act unconstitutional. That opened the door for sports gambling to be legalized across the country.
And in the weeks since, sports betting has been legalized in Delaware, New Jersey and Mississippi. Those states joined Nevada with more states planning to follow suit.
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