MGM Resorts and NBA Ink ‘Gaming Partner’ Deal to Share Official Data

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MGM Resorts and NBA Ink ‘Gaming Partner’ Deal to Share Official Data

MGM Resorts has become the first casino to agree a major deal with a US sports league after signing a three-year contract worth around $25 million with the National Basketball Association (NBA) and Women’s National Basketball League (WNBL). The partnership allows the Las Vegas casino giant to use the leagues’ official names, logos, as well as crucial data streams as the company prepares to expand its sports betting product throughout the country.

“What this relationship entails is access to official data for the many casinos that MGM operates,” commented NBA Commissioner Adam Silver. “It’s the use of the NBA’s intellectual property and as we’ve discussed before we’re very focused on integrity provisions to protect our fans, to protect those who choose to engage and bet on the NBA.”

Historic Partnership

The ‘Gaming Partner’ deal was announced on Tuesday, although only limited details have thus far been divulged as to what the agreement actually involves. This includes MGM Resorts receiving NBA data that can subsequently be used to calculate the odds it offers in its sports betting product. MGM Resorts CEO James Murren stated that this was essential in order for the MGM sportsbooks to provide reliable and accurate statistics for its sports betting customers, a sentiment that was echoed by the NBA Commissioner.

While MGM will have access to the NBA’s intellectual property, and be expected to advertise the NBA brand across its sports betting platforms, the NBA will similarly promote the MGM brand across its numerous NBA products, including NBA TV,, and its official NBA App.

Leap of Faith

The USA’s major sports leagues, namely the NBA, NFL, NHL and MLB, originally opposed the expanded legalization of sports betting in the country, but have since been forced to reverse their stance after the Supreme Court recently overturned the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) of 1992. Following the legal ruling, more than 20 states have moved to embrace the industry by rushing through sports betting bills in their respective states, leading the NBA to reassess the situation and deciding to collaborate with casino operators, instead.

The landmark agreement between MGM Resorts and NBA represents a tentative start in that direction, as reflected by the deal initially being set for a limited number of years only, thus giving both organizations sufficient time to see how their partnership works out. All being well, the two companies will then have the opportunity to extend their partnership going forward, and as Adam Silver explains:

“It’s a leap of faith on both sides. It’s a deal moderate in length where I think we can both step back and assess as we go and see, ‘Is it working? Is this deal fair? Are we providing the consumers with the right type of experience?'”

Not Exclusive Rights to NBA Data

While MGM now becomes an official partner for the NBA, the casino company will not have exclusive rights over the data provided by the league. In other words, the NBA will be free to make separate deals with other casinos also offering sports betting in various states across the country, or via mobile apps.

Basketball is the third most popular sports in America, behind American Football and Baseball, with its popularity enhanced by the interconnection between collegiate and professional basketball, as well as the stratospheric stars the game has produced over the years, such as Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant and LeBron James. Basketball is also one of the world’s most loved sports, meaning sportsbooks will be lining up to offer basketball wagering at their venues.

The NBA will therefore look to sign multiple deals with numerous casino providers across the country, in the process creating another lucrative revenue stream for the league. In the meantime, the American Gaming Association (AGA) welcomed the MGM and NBA partnership agreement, and expressed its belief that that this would be the first of many such deals agreed between casino operators and professional sports leagues.

Prior Business Relationship

As mentioned, the MGM and NBA partnership is the first of its kind between a sports betting business and a major professional sports league in the US. Nevertheless, the two companies have been in business together in the past. Last year, for instance, MGM Resorts bought the WNBA’s San Antonio Stars, who were subsequently renamed the Las Vegas Aces after relocating to the Mandalay Bay Events Center on the Las Vegas Strip in Nevada.

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