The NBA has become the first professional sports league to leap into the sports betting space. The league announced Tuesday that MGM Resorts International will serve as its official gaming partner, the first partnership of its kind in professional sports in the United States.
According to industry sources, the deal is said to be for three years and at least $25 million.
The agreement will grant MGM permission to use NBA data on its betting platform, while also working closely with the league to detect and prevent fraud. MGM also gains the right to use NBA and WNBA trademarks and team logos. The deal doesn’t make it clear if MGM will be able to use specific NBA and WNBA highlights or game videos in its betting products, but MGM does have the ability to use logos and league highlights on an MGM sports betting app, which will be available to states that approve online sports betting.
Although MGM will become the league’s gaming partner, the majority of the agreement is not exclusive. The NBA is likely to seek similar agreements with other casinos and businesses looking to utilize their data and trademarks.
NBA commissioner Adam Silver has publicly supported the idea of working with the sports gaming industry. After announcing the new partnership, he explained why it made sense for the league.
“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 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.”
One issue that remains unclear is if if the NBA will receive an integrity fee for bets placed on its games and events. The league has previously requested a .20 percent to 1 percent cut on all bets made on its games. The American Gaming Association has opposed the idea, stating that it unfairly taxes operators whose margins are already razor thin.