The NBA and Commissioner Adam Silver have been out in front of the changes in legalized gambling — both as it moved through the process to the Supreme Court, which made it a state issue, but also the changes in societal norms — and the league took the next step in that area on Tuesday.
The NBA has partnered with MGM Resorts as the league’s official gaming partner.
“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.
What does it mean on the ground? For the NBA, it means cash. Not a ton by NBA standards, but not nothing, either.
For bettors, it means (to quote the press release): “MGM Resorts will use official NBA and WNBA data and branding, on a non-exclusive basis, across MGM Resorts’ land-based and digital sports betting offerings throughout the United States.”
That means the NBA will send official it’s data to MGM, so their bettors will have the best, cleanest information. Going the other way, MGM will give the NBA detailed gaming data so the league can look for suspicious activity.
Where that will more and more come into play is mobile sports betting — gambling that can be done from phones and on live events, something already starting (it comes to New Jersey soon) and is expected to boom. Good, accurate data will be huge for both the MGMs of the world and bettors in that environment.
Silver and the owners would like an “integrity fee” for states to allow gaming on their sports, and as you would expect the bookmakers pushed back hard on that. However, so have state legislators — not a group prone to just giving away new revenue streams — which made Silver sound less optimistic about putting that together, at least in the short term.