Recently, the National Basketball Association (NBA) commissioner Adam Silver took another bold step and announced a three-year sports betting partnership with MGM Resorts International. The $8 million-a-year deal is seen to be a significant one and its importance is far beyond a simple corporate sponsorship. The NBA has made MGM its official gaming partner, and this is the first time that a major sports entity has taken such a giant leap into the world of legalized sports betting.
The deal is seen as a good one for the NBA, especially since it appeases the group’s concerns over the integrity of betting on its games. Financially, it is seen as a rewarding partnership for the NBA, which has given MGM access to game stats and trademarks.
Speaking at a press conference, Silver noted that there were “many different ways to skin the cat.”
“We decided here, rather than sort of re-litigating the integrity fee, which is still being hotly discussed state by state, let’s find an approach which is unique to us, and where we both feel we’re being fairly treated,” said Silver.
Despite the fact that the NBA was initially part of the sports leagues’ efforts to keep New Jersey from introducing legal sports betting, the group was nevertheless seen as a trailblazer and the first to publicly do an about-turn and declare its support for a legalized and regulated industry.
However, the NBA’s deal with MGM will certainly not be the last one signed between gambling operators and sports leagues.
The chief executive of FanDuel, Matt King said that it was only a matter of time that more deals will be signed.
“Everybody is talking to everybody,” he said. “I think this probably marks a tipping point where you’re going to start to see deals like this are getting done. The NBA-MGM agreement is in line with what I would have expected, but it’s still really interesting to see the deals start to happen.
Policies will also have to be reviewed at different levels to keep up with changes in the industry. The PGA Tour, for example has said that it is currently reviewing its policy that bars gaming sponsorships. The group’s VP, David Miller, noted that it was inevitable that leagues and operators would strike commercial deals, and that the MGM deal was one that the group would “take a hard look at”.