Will the NBA’s new betting partnership with MGM be a success?

Julie Jacobson/Associated Press

Gambling has been one of the hottest topics in the world of sports for a long time.

In the past, many people would take the opportunity to wager on games in the Las Vegas area as Nevada was the only state that has allowed sports gambling for multiple decades. 

Now, with state and federal government realizing the tax profit opportunities that come with the business of sports gambling, other states have now allowed sports betting to become legal.

New Jersey, for example, is home to Atlantic City, known for being the Vegas of the East Coast for a countless number of decades. When the Recession hit over 10 years ago, Atlantic City casinos started to close one by one, fearing that Atlantic City would never be the same.

The state seized the opportunity of the Supreme Court striking down on the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992, the federal prohibition that restricted full-scale legal sports betting to only Nevada.

Now, the NBA is taking a historical approach to this now federal leniency of sports gambling by becoming the first major U.S. sports league to partner with a sportsbook operator.

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver and MGM Resorts Chairman and CEO Jim Murren. via Getty  Images

Commissioner Adam Silver believes this partnership with MGM will create an edge over their competitors by bringing in new audiences, but also bringing a new consumer experience.

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 news conference in New York City to announce the partnership.

The opportunities with this partnership are endless for the NBA.

A really big goal of the NBA and other major leagues like the MLB and PGA is to obtain a fee on the amount wagered on their respective games and events.

With the data that is going to be provided by the NBA, the MGM sportsbook that operates out of multiple states like Mississippi, New Jersey, and Nevada currently, will have the chance to create more in-game wagers for the consumers, which in turn would bring more viewers to their on-court product.

This estimated three-year, $25 million deal couldn’t have come at a better time because of the estimated 20 different states that are projected to have legalized sports gambling.

With the NBA being the most progressive league of all, lead by a progressive commissioner in Adam Silver, the key factor will be based on how the speed and reliability of the data provided by the NBA will affect both the end user and the sportsbook.

A stigma that has always been brought up in the past is the potential of NBA players getting involved in the gambling ring, impacting team results. With this partnership, the NBA will not have to worry about their players ever getting involved, at least not at the underground level.

The city of Las Vegas could also look to benefit from this partnership by having the opportunity to bring in an NBA team in the future.

Overall, this pairing brings light to the fact that the bad stigma of sports gambling has really gone out of the window because of the monetary value it can bring for both the league and the states involved. The NBA has created a pathway for other leagues to follow suit if all goes according to plan.


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