By Glenn Fleishman
October 29, 2018

The National Hockey League has selected MGM Resorts International as its official partner for sports betting in the U.S. as more states legalize sports gambling.

The agreement follows a May 2018 Supreme Court decision striking down a law that prevented most states from offering sport betting. Estimates of illegal sports gambling in the U.S. range from tens of billions to hundreds of billions of dollars a year.

The Oct. 29 deal gives MGM non-exclusive rights to use the logos and branding material of teams and the league, and real-time game data that the NHL has under development. Data is a key factor in these relationships, as some sports bettors want the latest and most detailed statistics to measure their odds of success.

Casinos and other organizations that receive permission in various states to handle sports betting don’t require a partnership with major sports leagues. But trademark and copyright protection, access to raw and real-time data, and other intellectual-property limitations will give parties that sign partnerships a leg up.

Under its agreement with MGM and any other casinos, the NHL could collect over $200 million in additional revenue, according to a Nielsen report commissioned by the American Gaming Association earlier in the year. Owners and players will split the money 50-50, according to the NHL.

The agreement is for a fixed amount, and the NHL will not receive revenue based on the size or number of bets placed.

In addition to becoming the official gambling partner for the NHL, MGM will become the league’s resort destination. It partnership gives MGM a valuable marketing boost in promoting hockey betting at its resorts, by allowing the use of team and league branding. The company has 20 resorts, 14 of which are in Las Vegas.

The is the second sports league deal for MGM, which announced an agreement with the National Basketball Association on July 31 that is believed to be worth $25 million to the league over three years.

In May 2018, the Supreme Court struck down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, passed in 1992, that prohibited most states from allowing sports betting, excluding a few with limited existing games and certain smaller sports and activities, like bike racing and low-stakes social gambling. That included Nevada, which had legal pooled sports betting, and handled nearly $5 billion in wagers in 2017.

Since the Supreme Court ruling, Delaware, Mississippi, Nevada, New Mexico, New Jersey, and West Virginia have legalized sport betting, and some analysts expect as many as two dozen more to follow.

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