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New NBA Data Deals Give Legal Sportsbooks The Upper Hand

Marc Meltzer November 28, 2018
NBA Data

On Wednesday, the NBA announced a first for a professional sports league in America. The league is now the first professional sports league in America to sign betting data partnerships related to the US market. The first two betting NBA data partners are Sportradar and Genius Sports.

This deal is a nonexclusive, so in theory, there could be more NBA betting data distribution partners in the future. This comes just a few months after MGM Resorts and the NBA signed a nonexclusive deal for data (and marketing). Coincidentally, or not, Sportradar is already providing data to MGM Resorts.

The first of its kind deal will begin with NBA and WNBA data distribution this year. Partnering with reputable data distribution services to provide official data to licensed sportsbooks could be a major step for legal sportsbook operators to separate from illegal bookies.

Legal sportsbooks moving forward

Data distribution deals by the NBA and other leagues can potentially leave illegal bookies in the Dark Ages. One benefit of sports bettors gambling with illegal bookies is the ability to bet on credit. This won’t go away. But while offering better lines for pre-game wagering is beneficial, there’s a whole lot more to betting on sports today.

Legal sportsbooks receiving data the quickest will allow them to offer in-play betting and some player propositions that won’t be accessible to illegal sportsbooks. In-play wagering has anecdotally been about 20 percent of the sports betting market in Nevada. That number is multiplying in New Jersey.

During a sports betting conference this week, Niall Connell, of FanDuel Sportsbook in New Jersey, said around 40 percent of their handle (amount of money wagered) is coming from in-play wagering. Having access to the best data will continue to grow that revenue stream and help advance legal sports betting around the country.

US sports betting worldwide

Sports betting in the US may never be the same. New international companies are changing the game. Sportsbook operators in New Jersey are already offering different options for US sports bettors thanks to their European influences.

Irish sportsbook operator Paddy Power is the brains behind the FanDuel Sportsbook in New Jersey. Kambi, another European company, is already powering sportsbooks in multiple states outside of Nevada.

US sports betting data distribution will also use experience from European companies. Carsten Koerl, chief executive officer of Sportradar, says that with “sports betting being so new to the United States, we will look to utilize our vast global experience in the space to implement innovative feeds and products to give fans and partners an amazing experience.”

Sports betting is evolving

For better or worse, sports betting in the US is changing. Between data deals with professional sports leagues and sportsbook operators with a different point of view than Nevada casinos, there are a lot of changes happening to sports betting in the US right now.

There are new ways to bet on sports popping up nearly every week. Thanks to new companies, new data deals and new wagering options, there’s no end in sight to the evolution of legal sports betting.

MGM Swings For The Fences Again With Latest Pro League Partnership

Juan Carlos Blanco November 28, 2018
MGM MLB

There’s more than one way to skin a cat, the old saying goes. And applying that principle to ensure a cut of exponentially increasing sports betting revenue likely has the leagues purring with satisfaction right about now.

Rebuffed repeatedly by state governments in their quest for integrity and data usage fees, the leagues seemingly have pivoted to two tried-and-true cornerstones of business — ingenuity and deal-making — to accomplish their goals.

MLB the latest to join forces with MGM

The latest example of such became official Tuesday. Major League Baseball (MLB) announced an official “all-inclusive partnership agreement” with MGM Resorts International. If that sounds familiar, it’s because we’ve been here before, and recently at that.

The NBA, arguably the most “progressive” of the pro leagues on sports betting prior to the Supreme Court decision that eradicated PASPA, fittingly got the ball rolling. They inked a deal with MGM in late July that made the latter their “official gaming partner”. The NHL mirrored their basketball counterparts just three months later. They too put pen to paper with MGM for an agreement that included remuneration for the leagues for their official game data.

As customary, both parties were effusive in their praise for the newly minted deal and each other in the press release announcing the move.

“We are pleased to partner with MGM Resorts International, a clear industry leader in the sports gaming area, to work together on bringing innovative experiences to baseball fans and MGM customers,” said Baseball Commissioner Robert D. Manfred, Jr. “Our partnership with MGM will help us navigate this evolving space responsibly, and we look forward to the fan engagement opportunities ahead.”

“We are excited to enter into this historic partnership with MLB. We are thrilled to create a new one-of-a-kind fan experience for baseball fans,” said MGM Resorts Chairman and CEO Jim Murren. “Combining MGM Resorts’ world class entertainment and technology with MLB data will continue to transform a rapidly changing industry.  This partnership further amplifies the significance of our GVC JV, firmly establishing MGM Resorts and playMGM as the market leader in partnerships with major professional sports leagues.”

Plenty of benefits for both parties

The MLB-MGM marriage has a similar structure to those past deals. However, it also includes an international component. As per the terms of the partnership, MGM will also be an official partner for MLB grassroots events in Japan. Those functions include the MLB Road Show, described in the official press release as an “interactive fan experience” where opportunities exist for direct participation in baseball-related activities akin to those offered in similar events stateside.

As with the other leagues-MGM partnerships — and any other marketing/sponsorship agreements for that matter — this latest initiative is built on a foundation of mutual benefits. MGM gets expansive exposure for its brand and various offerings across MLB’s digital and broadcast platforms, both domestically and internationally. The gaming giant will also enjoy a similar presence at signature events such as the All-Star Game and World Series.

MLB will have similar visibility in MGM advertising and promotional campaigns. And, the league also has a commitment from MGM to use its official statistics feed on a non-exclusive basis. That essentially mirrors related wording in the NBA and NHL pacts. However, the agreement also includes a provision for MGM’s use of “enhanced statistics” in its betting offerings.

There’s even a nod to the now infamous integrity fees that have come to symbolize the pro leagues’ quest to establish a recurring financial stream with respect to legalized sports betting. The agreement pledges that both parties will “work together on comprehensive responsible gaming measures and work to protect the integrity of the game both on and off the field.”

Leagues showing they can play nice with sportsbooks … if the price is right

This latest league-level partnership is just another example of the settling of the dust in a post-PASPA reality. There was plenty of uncertainty — not to mention a fair amount of acrimony — in both the months prior and the months following the May 14 SCOTUS decision. As states have passed legislation and successfully initiated betting within their jurisdictions, clarity has been gained on a couple of fronts.

  • One is certainly what was suspected all along — that there’s plenty of interest in legalized sports betting across the country, and money to be made.
  • Another is that something has finally given in the ongoing dispute over integrity and data fees between the leagues and the states.

For the moment, at least, the alternate route of forging partnerships with individual sportsbooks — ones that often still afford the leagues a chance to come to similar terms with other gaming entities — seems to serve as a viable truce.

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New Jersey Sports Betting: Which NJ Sportsbook App Is Best For You?

Bill Gelman October 31, 2018
NJ Sportsbook Apps

New Jersey legalized sports betting is expanding at a rapid pace. The sportsbooks available in the Garden State include seven Atlantic City casinos, two racetracks, and eight mobile online products available. And there are more to come.

In this article, we’re going to focus on the mobile apps available in New Jersey. Each of the sites have their strong points, and it really comes down to personal preference and searching for the best odds.

Here is a closer look at the eight options.

DraftKings Sportsbook

Land-based partner: Resorts Atlantic City
Available via: iOS, Android and web browser
Promo: $25 free (no deposit) plus free bet match up to $250 (no promo code needed)

DraftKings, one of two DFS heavyweights to cross over to the sports betting world, surprised many by jumping to the front of the New Jersey mobile sports betting line on Aug. 16 – a full 16 days before MGM went live.

Deposit options are limited compared to others on this list, but PayPal was added as an important option for bettors. The $5 minimum deposit is light on the wallet, but $200 will earn you the full promo amount. . Withdrawals are processed via checks and the Resorts casino cage.

Although the apps are separate, users of the DFS and sports betting sites enjoy the benefit of the sites being linked, including a shared wallet.

You can pretty much place a bet on any sport, cricket and darts included. DraftKings offers a complete menu of betting options, including in-play and cash out options.

The betting carousel is extremely user-friendly. And the geolocation technology is top-notch. If you’re not located in NJ, users will not be able to see the lobby. The app automatically logs users out after a short period of inactivity. Wagers can only be placed online as DraftKings does not have a retail operation.

For more information visit our DraftKings Sportsbook review page.

FanDuel Sportsbook

Land-based partner: Meadowlands Racetrack
Available via: iOS, Android and web browser
Promo: Risk-free bet up to $500 for new bettors

FanDuel, another big-time player in the DFS world, merged with Paddy Power Betfair’s U.S. operations, resulting in the “largest online sports destination in the United States.” Name recognition is key, and so is having a strong sportsbook app.

There are several deposit and withdrawal options at FanDuel Sportsbook, making it easy to get in the action. The promo bonus is enough to attract attention, but several others are offering higher amounts.

Bettors can wager on all of the popular sports, and those not quite as popular. The full menu of betting options includes everything from moneyline to round robins, and of course the previously talked about in-play betting.

The live scoreboard feature allows users to track wagers and updated odds, with easy links to in-game bets. Sports betting rookies can take advantage of the informative FanDuel training camp.

For more information visit our FanDuel Sportsbook review page.

BetStars Sportsbook

Land-based partner: Resorts
Available via: iOS, Android; web browser in the works
Promo: New players earn up to $500 in free bets

The sports betting product is the newest under the Stars Group umbrella, joining the already established PokerStars NJ and PokerStars Casino.

The eight deposit methods ($10 minimum) include VISA, MasterCard, PayNearMe, eCheck, and casino cage, offering plenty of customer convenience. There are five withdrawal options.

Wagers are accepted on all the popular sports — football, basketball, baseball, hockey, soccer — and less popular sports such as tennis and cycling. Besides the popular wager options, there are in-game betting and cash out options. Odds boosts are available daily.

Users of the multiple Stars Group platforms have access to a shared wallet available to use in poker/casino and sports betting apps.

The iOS PokerStars NJ app highlights popular games with betting options and other sports posted above. The downside is bets cannot currently be placed via the web browser.

For more information, visit our BetStars how-to guide.

SugarHouse Sportsbook and Casino

Land-based partner: Golden Nugget Atlantic City
Available via: Android, iOS and web browser
Promo: First deposit match up to $250 (Use promo code PLAY250)

The brick-and-mortar SugarHouse calls Philadelphia home, but the digital version is holding its own in New Jersey thanks to its strong affiliation with the Golden Nugget — the state’s Internet/mobile gaming leader. As an added bonus the sportsbook is built into the previously existing casino app (featuring more than 450 table games and slots) for an all-in-one package with a shared wallet.

Users will enjoy the 10 deposit options — four of which can be used for withdrawals. All of the popular American sports are on the board with a variety of betting options available — jackpot parlay included. Everything is easily accessible via the very busy looking lobby, which may be distracting to some as a result of the rotating promo ads and news feed.

Operator Rush Street Interactive has played up the strength of its live betting options for football games with more than 300 offers available the first week of the NFL season. Cash Out option is available, too.

For more information, visit our SugarHouse how-to guide.

888sport

Land-based partner: Caesars Atlantic City
Available via: Android and web browser (iOS coming soon)
Promo: $10 Free Bonus (no deposit needed); First deposit match up to $500

888 Holdings continues to go all in with its New Jersey mobile/online offerings as 888sport joins 888poker and 888 Casino. 888 bills its sports betting platform as “among the finest in the world.” It was the seventh sports betting platform to go live in NJ. Users have access to a shared wallet between sports betting, poker, and casino.

Customers can choose between eight deposit options along with five withdrawal methods. The welcome promo is currently among the best being offered.

There is a full menu of popular pro and international sports all types of wagers available, in-game betting included. Everything is easily accessible from the lobby that includes a running scoreboard of current games.

iOS users will need to wait a tad longer as the web browser still has the “coming soon message.”

For more information, visit our 888sport how-to guide.

William Hill

Land-based partners: Monmouth Park and Ocean Casino Resort
Available via: Android, iOS and web browser
Promo: $50 cash after reaching $50 in total bets

William Hill is investing heavily in New Jersey with retail operations at Monmouth Park (where New Jersey’s first legal sports bet was accepted) and Ocean Casino Resort, with another one in the works at the Tropicana.

William Hill’s hard push in NJ comes as no surprise being that they bill themselves as “America’s sports betting leader.” Besides operating 100-plus sportsbooks in Nevada, the company rolled out the New Jersey version of its Android and web browser platforms in time for the NFL season. The iOS app was launched in late September 2018.

The deposit and withdrawal methods are a bit limited compared to some competitors, but William Hill has been doing this for a long time, so the system is working. All of the major sports are on the board with a full variety of betting options, live betting included. Everything is easily accessible from the lobby.

The welcome promo is not as attractive as others — $50 in free money compared to much larger deposit matches at 888sport, BetStars and DraftKings.

Web browser users may experience some confusion if connected to the informational williamhill.us/new-jersey website, which includes links to the Nevada version of the app. Customer service representatives are in hand to help resolve the issue. Instead of searching Google Play, Android users will have an easier time downloading the app via nj.us.williamhill.com/betting/en-us.

Caesars Sportsbook

Land-based partner: Caesars Atlantic City
Available via: Android, iOS and web browser
Promo: $25 free

One thing missing from the Caesars Atlantic City property is a retail sportsbook. But sister properties Harrah’s and the connected Bally’s do have one. The flagship property took a different route by rolling out its mobile/online product first, and it’s combined with the previously existing casino app.

Besides the eight deposit methods, the lobby features a full menu of sports wagers grouped by sport, MLB, NBA and NCAA football games take center stage, but it’s easy to filter personal preferences.

Bettors will find money lines, point spreads, parlays, futures, teasers, and props, but in-game and cash out features are not included at this time.

Total Rewards members will enjoy the added perk of earning tier credits.

playMGM Sportsbook

Land-based partner: Borgata
Available via: Android devices
Promo: None at this time

The Borgata is the top-performing casino in Atlantic City and is regularly ahead of the pack with its offerings. The MGM-owned property was ready to go with its retail operation the first day sports bets were accepted in New Jersey. Some were likely surprised that the playMGM Sports Android app was not the first to launch. For now, it’s completely separate from the casino and poker apps.

While MGM has name recognition, the app seems extremely basic compared to the Las Vegas version that is designed with strong graphics. The betting options are displayed within the individual sports menus. Users will not be able to access the lobby without creating/logging into account — another difference from the Las Vegas version. No deposit is required to check out the app.

Seven available deposit options make it easy to get in the game.

The biggest remaining question is when, as in when will the app be available to iOS and web browser users? Combined with a lack of a promo offer, bettors may find others options on this list more attractive.

Borgata Follows DraftKings To NJ Online Sports Betting Realm With playMGM App

Juan Carlos Blanco August 22, 2018
playMGM

Earlier in August, daily fantasy sports industry leader and newly minted sports betting provider DraftKings one-upped a bevy of more established names in becoming the first operator to offer online sports betting in New Jersey. The DraftKings SportsBook had a “soft launch” beginning Aug. 1 and officially went live Aug. 6

Now, two-plus weeks later, they have some company. The playMGM sports betting app – which utilizes one of the MGM-owned Borgata Casino online sports betting licenses – made its debut Wednesday afternoon. Currently, the app is the only digital option for Borgata customers, as there is not yet a web-based counterpart. Moreover, it’s only available for Android users at present, although an iOS version is reportedly imminent. Residents must be at least 21 years of age to create an account and make deposits.

Notably, Borgata Casino was even more ahead of the curve when it came to launching land-based sports betting in New Jersey. The Atlantic City casino joined Monmouth Park as one of the first two operators in the state to begin accepting wagers back on June 14.

Full array of wagering options/sports offerings

The Garden State version of the playMGM sports betting app will be very similar to the more established Nevada edition in certain aspects. However, according to reports, there will be notable differentiation between odds offered in New Jersey and those offered to Silver State customers.

There is synergy when it comes to the types of wagers offered. These include:

  • Point Spreads/Run Lines
  • Money Lines
  • playMGMParlays
  • Teasers
  • Futures
  • Over/Under
  • Proposition Betting
  • Live In-Play Wagering

As expected, wagers will be accepted on all major team-based and individual sports, including:

  • MLB
  • NBA
  • NHL
  • NFL
  • NHL
  • NASCAR and other motor racing events
  • Soccer (various leagues)
  • Tennis
  • Golf
  • Boxing and Mixed Martial Arts

Below you’ll find the step-by-step instructions for downloading the playMGM app for Android devices:

  • Visit the playMGM website and download the app. Make sure you allow playMGM to use your device’s location so it knows you are located in New Jersey.
  • Once the app downloaded to your device, click “Sign Me Up” and enter your details on the Sign Up page. Once finished, click the box agreeing to the terms of use and privacy policy and hit the “Sign Up” button.
  • Follow corresponding instructions for making an initial deposit. Deposits are accepted via bank transfer and credit card.

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What Can MGM Do With Official NBA Data? Let’s Speculate

Marc Meltzer August 2, 2018
NBA Data

Earlier this week, MGM Resorts became the official gaming partner of the NBA. The partnership gives the MGM Resorts the right to use official NBA (and WNBA) league logos and other marketing considerations.

Through this deal, MGM Resorts also has a non-exclusive deal to use official league data across their sports betting platforms. Other casino operators might be able to pay the NBA for the use of the data, but they won’t be able to pay the NBA for the marketing that comes as part of this deal.

But here’s why this is big for MGM: The official NBA data will reach MGM Resorts and any other casino company that has access BEFORE unofficial data. Additionally, MGM Resorts will have access to the NBA’s Second Spectrum data. The latter was divulged during the Q & A session after the official press conference.

So, Let’s Dance!

MGM Resorts hasn’t said how they’ll use the data from the NBA since announcing the partnership. They keep on touting how in-play betting is the future and how this deal will help them be top of the pack. Unfortunately, MGM Resorts lacks specific examples.

MGM Resorts is only pointing to their recent joint venture with GVC as a way to improve their sports betting technology. In theory, this should make the in-play wagering available from MGM Resorts better than other sportsbook operators.

Until we see something tangible from MGM Resorts, anything you see is all just words. Right now anyone saying this deal is meaningful or meaningless is just guessing. Since we’re all just guessing, let’s think about how the official data from the NBA could make betting with MGM Resorts properties especially better.

  • Official Data: There are way more NBA statistics available than most people know. Sports bettors do not have access to wager on much of this data anywhere in the United States. The potential for prop bets and in-play is huge. Of course, MGM Resorts and GVC have to use the data to make new and unique wagering opportunities available.
  • Faster Data: The feeds that exist for in-play wagering are fairly quick already. A bettor might be able to reconcile a wager a few seconds early. Perhaps MGM Resorts will find a way to make this more useful to gamblers.
  • Second Spectrum Data: This company tracks NBA players unlike anyone else. You see a lot of their data used on ESPN (see video about halfway down the page). Like the official NBA stats this data could offer MGM Resorts access to create some unique wagering options that you can only play at their casino/sportsbook.

Wait and see

The NBA doesn’t even have a schedule yet, so be patient. The season should begin around the middle of October. MGM Resorts has just over two months to figure out what they’re going to do with all of this data that they have access to. Let’s see if they use the data to improve the gambling or if there’s something else going on with this deal.

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Here’s What ‘Official Gaming Partner’ Of The NBA Means For MGM Resorts

Marc Meltzer August 1, 2018
NBA MGM

MGM Resorts International has been a busy beaver ahead of their quarterly earnings announcement on Thursday. By Monday of this week, they already announced the partnership with GVC, Mississippi sportsbook openings, and a partnership with Boyd Gaming. Now it’s time for another big sports betting announcement (or two).

On Tuesday the NBA announced that MGM Resorts would be the first official ‘gaming’ (not gambling) partnership. The deal allows MGM Resorts to use official NBA data and branding. However, this is a non-exclusive deal so expect the NBA to pimp this deal to other casino and sportsbook operators around the country.

Here are some highlights of the deal between the NBA and MGM Resorts:

  • MGM Resorts becomes the Official Gaming Partner of the NBA and WNBA.
  • MGM Resorts will use official NBA and WNBA data.
  • MGM Resorts will use NBA and WNBA branding across land-based and digital sports betting offerings throughout the U.S.
  • MGM Resorts shows their commitment to responsible gambling and protecting NBA game integrity.
  • MGM Resorts and the NBA will collaborate to create a series of integrations across NBA platforms, including a special digital content series

Beyond the data use and “integrity” efforts, this is essentially a marketing deal. MGM Resorts created an easy-to-read presentation that mentions that MGM Resorts and the NBA will collaborate to create a series of integrations across NBA platforms, including a special digital content series.

Neither the NBA or MGM released financial details of this deal. However, Darren Rovell from ESPN tweeted that the deal is for three years and more than $25 million. Every other casino and sportsbook operator is probably cursing at MGM Resorts for putting a price on official data and branding.

The NBA plans on shopping similar deals around to other casino and sportsbook operators. MGM Resorts hasn’t said if they will be making similar deals with other leagues.

MGM Resorts and NBA have a good thing going

This deal reflects the strong relationship that MGM Resorts and the NBA have formed over the past several years. MGM Resorts is a partner for the NBA Summer League. The casino operator also owns the WNBA’s Las Vegas Aces.

MGM Resorts has been trying to get an NBA team to play in Las Vegas for years. MGM Resorts is co-owner of T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. This deal continues a good relationship that could one day include a team playing in Las Vegas.

But wait…there’s more

Towards the end of the press conference, MGM Resorts CEO, Jim Murren, announced that the company would begin taking mobile wagers in New Jersey by the end of the week. This is the first announcement on when any sportsbook operator in New Jersey will take mobile wagers. MGM Resorts owns Borgata. Expect more details on this later in the week.