Official Gambling Partners

What’s a vig? This thing is a little-known fact, if somebody asked me what has been the subject matter that we have spent the most time on in my office in the last 12 months, and I mean in the legal department at the NBA in the last 12 months, well, you know, I take it back, I would expand it to be the whole league office in the last 12 months, and it would be two things, and outside of this forum I doubt anybody would guess what they were. The first one is this topic, sports gambling, and the second one is our new NBA 2k league, we now have a fourth league, which is an electronic gaming league, and so to Jodi’s point about disruption, and changes and developments, these are things that we spend a ton of time on. There are so many facets of the gambling issue, so many different areas that we have to look at, it’s a little mind-numbing, but one of them, obviously, is what the commercial landscape is gonna look like for us, so we made, about six weeks ago, our first gambling partnership with MGM, MGM is a company that we have done with business previously, but not in the sports book area, in other areas, they own a WNBA team in one of our leagues.

So MGM is the official gaming partner of the NBA, they have that designation, they, on a non-exclusive basis, have entered into a commercial arrangement with us where they will be receiving our official data, which we think is extremely important for the integrity of betting on our games, and they have agreed commercially to give us a lot of the information that we have been seeking legislatively. So, we are partnering with that operator, we are looking to partner with others and hope to do that soon, and we wanna have gold-plated relationships with the very best and most reputable companies in this space, so we’re trying to do that. – And we’re supportive of that commercial arrangement, I mean, I understand where the leagues are coming from, we get their position on integrity fees, it’s obviously a cut of our handle and our revenue so as operators we’re not as in favor of it, but we view it as something that should be decided as a commercial relationship. We’ve, on the fantasy side, worked with the NBA before, we’ve worked with many NBA teams, many NFL teams, and what the NBA has accomplished with MGM.

I’m sure what they’ll accomplish with other operators and other leagues will as well, is how we see that it’s an arrangement that works for both parties that will allow the industry to be monetized. – Turning from integrity, which the five of you have focused on, what, if anything, is going to be done to protect people against themselves? Youth, the addicted, the poor, in terms of the possible side effects of gambling? – I would mention that Senator Schumer’s proposal includes bans on gambling advertising, especially where it targets youth populations, and that if you examine the Australia experience with legalized gambling, and there, it is absolutely pervasive.