The National Hockey League (NHL) has signed a multi-year partnership that makes MGM Resorts its first official sports betting partner. Despite previous resistance to its legalization, pro leagues are making the best of things as the US stands poised to become the world’s largest sports betting market.
This new partnership grants MGM Resorts the ability to market hockey betting services to its members and offer specialized game insights by accessing proprietary NHL game data. This data will allow MGM Resorts to inform any activations around interactive fan engagement and betting opportunities.
The NHL will, in turn, market MGM Resorts across its considerable fan base. This partnership also makes MGM the official resort partner of the NHL.
In May, the US Supreme Court struck down a 1992 federal law that banned commercial sports betting in most states. Professional Sports Leagues, for the most part, supported the law with concerns that gambling would impact the integrity of the sport—i.e. game fixing.
You know what they say—if you can’t beat them, join them. The NFL was among several leagues that sued the State of New Jersey when it repealed its anti-sports betting law in 2014. So was the NBA, who signed a sports betting partnership deal with MGM Resorts this summer.
The legalization of sports betting in the US is expected to make it the world’s largest sports gambling market, according to GamblingCompliance Research. US sports betting is predicted to reach anywhere between $3.1 billion and $5.2 billion by the year 2023, as more states vote to legalize a pastime already popular in other regions of the world.
Forced with the idea that sports betting can and will happen in many parts of the US, professional leagues are being methodical about how they accommodate fans. For the NHL, that means using the same data-driven approach that they would use for any marketing campaign.
“The new sports betting landscape presents a unique opportunity for fan engagement utilizing technology and data that are exclusive to our League,” said NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman in a statement. “Fan engagement, technological advancement and innovation are paramount to our progressive approach and will be at the forefront of everything we do.”
Integrity is still a major concern when gambling is involved. As part of its partnership with MGM Studios, the NBA is using anonymized real-time data sharing and other “best-in-class practices” to protect the integrity of NBA and WNBA games.