NHL Goes All in on Sports Betting – Signs MGM Deal

By Ken Edwards, 11 November 2018

MGM Resorts and NHLThe NHL has recently become only the second major North American league to announce an official sports betting partner. Like the NBA before it, the NHL is joining forces with MGM Resorts on a non-binding, non-exclusive deal that includes access to the Hockey League’s official data and player statistics.

MGM’s deal with the NHL is comprehensive and also encompasses the appointment as the league’s official resort destination, however, it is the data component of the agreement that is distinctive as the most outstanding thumbprint of the agreement. As a key ingredient of the deal, MGM receives access to the NHL’s league’s intellectual property (like team logos and other branding materials and league paraphernalia) in addition to advanced game data recorded by the league. The agreement is not exclusive, which means that the NHL is free to buy and sell their player data and statistics to other sports betting companies other than MGM.

Additionally, MGM Resorts will be able to take advantage of cross-promotional opportunities in connection with the NHL’s calendar of show-stopping marquee events including the Stanley Cup Playoffs and Stanley Cup Final, NHL All-Star Game, NHL Winter Classic and the NHL Stadium Series, to offer a variety of betting options across its entire portfolio.

Income and shared revenue created by the new partnership will be considered to be entirely hockey-related revenue, which means the NHL players and team owners will split it 50/50, according to the League’s Collective Bargaining Agreement. It’s an important component of the agreement meaning that the revenue earned by the NHL in the partnership is fixed and is by no means related to any revenue based on the accumulation of actual bet monies placed by players.

It’s the Data, Stupid!

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said MGM will receive “access to advanced game data which is being developed as we speak,” a reference to the league-wide player tracking system due to be installed for 2019-20 season.

MGM will benefit by gaining access to NHL proprietary data that could potentially include puck and player tracking information once those data collecting techniques go through the required testing phases. Access to those statistics and data will allow MGM to provide customized in-game specifics along with advanced in-play betting options for its U.S. customers where sports betting is legally available.

MGM Resorts chairman and CEO Jim Murren went on the record to say; “Data is the key. The more data a player has, the better. And that data has to be trusted. It has to be specific. It has to be endorsed. It has to be real-time. And we’ve seen the power of data outside the United States. You look at World Cup soccer, for example, in the UK or throughout Europe.”

“If I know one player is faster than the other, if I know one expends less energy than the other, if I know one has a faster slap shot than the other, it gives me information that I can bet,” President of MGM Resorts Interactive Gaming, Scott Butera explained.

“If I’m betting on who will score the most goals, I have that tool. Ultimately when enough data is collected on that, we’ll be able to actually bet on that data itself. So you could have a bet on which player’s going to have the highest average slap shot throughout the game.” Mr Butera added.

The MGM-NHL Deal is All About Mobile Online Betting Convenience

The MGM-NHL deal is all about mobile online betting convenienceGambling and Sports Betting Industry experts are all in agreement that the future of sports betting in the U.S. is one that is compatible for play on mobile devices, which will increase in-play wagering, anytime – anywhere. For example, in the State of New Jersey, online sports gambling is off to a rollicking start and online betting amounts for the month of September 2018 eclipsed brick-and-mortar, land-based sportsbook betting. Such fast-paced odds-making requires the rapid, reliable dissemination of data.

“The stuff we’re creating, you can’t have and you can’t scrape….in real-time,” Bettman said. “And you’re going to need it in real-time.”

“The way people consume sports has changed, and frankly, whatever views anybody had a year ago have been changed by the fact that the Supreme Court ruled on PASPA, and sports betting, subject to state enactment, has found a new road and a new life.” Mr Bettman concluded.

These unprecedented betting partnerships have been made possible by the historic Supreme Court ruling in May which legalized sports betting on a federal level, paving the way for individual states to open sportsbooks.


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