You may or may not know this, but the NBA was the 1st American pro league to enter into a partnership with a casino and sportsbook operator. This landmark deal was made in 2018 when MGM Resorts International became the league’s official gaming partner thus helping the sports betting market to grow at unprecedented rates.
In May 2018, the Supreme Court cleared the way for any other state to legalize sports betting for the first time. Before this historic decision, sports betting was only restricted to Nevada. Now as the NBA season continues after a hiatus that was imposed on March 11 thanks to the coronavirus pandemic, sports betting is anticipated to spike even more than it already has.
The NBA today is following stringent health and safety protocols as stipulated by the NBA’s Board of Governors and National Basketball Players Association. This means that there won’t be the typical live audience or tickets available for the remainder of the 2019-20 season. But this hasn’t stopped people from gambling.
The return of the NBA brings a resurgence of online sports gambling
The 2020 sports season has been one for the books. Not only did the coronavirus shut down countries, but it also sidelined sports. Sports lovers though have had a respite with the return of the PGA Tour, UFC, and NASCAR. Niche sports such as international baseball, soccer, and tennis have also commenced.
Major sports, such as basketball though, haven’t been as lucky, with many of them being forced to co-exist in bubbles. As one of the first leagues to attempt to return to normalcy, the NBA has been under a lot of pressure to set the tone. Thankfully, despite the daunting challenges that come with this pandemic, this season has brought with it a spike that many believe could outdo other leagues including the NFL.
During a normal year, the summer is usually very slow for sportsbooks. Apart from niche sports, the only thing that’s usually available during this time is baseball. However, there is hardly anything normal about 2020. Today, major leagues including the NBA, MLB, and NHL all have live sports between July and September, which is usually a period that’s dominated by football.
Although having such a stacked schedule has proven to be quite the challenge for odd makers, having such a jam-packed schedule has been heaven for sports fans and punters. It’s been great to have sports like NASCAR and UFC back. However, if you dig deep you will realize that sports such as basketball attract more interest than others.
As such, having basketball back has been huge for the betting world in general. So far, operators and sportsbooks have already realized record handles on every sport that has resumed its season. NBA has always easily one of the most well-liked betting leagues and it is expected to keep hitting the top spot until it ends.
Months of rapid growth and investments in the field of legal sports betting stopped abruptly in March when the NBA and other leagues were forced to suspend their seasons. However, now that sports are slowly resuming, the future has never looked brighter.
What about the NBA’s virtual betting games?
Sportsbooks are constantly on the lookout for ways to beat the competition, as well as advance in an industry that demands it. So it makes sense when the NBA announced just recently that the league, as well as the Players Union, had entered into a partnership with Highlight Games, a UK based gambling provider to launch NBA Last 90, a virtual NBA sports betting game.
The NBA Last 90 will feature actual NBA highlights and footage; which gamblers can bet on using real money. The simulation will be created using computer software which will take into account various factors and algorithms that will enable punters to wager live on the action.
Punters can pick their favorites to win, who will score on the 1st possession, over and under points, as well as other betting props. According to the NBA, NBA Last 90 will be available at any licensed land-based, online, and mobile operator that is legal in the US. It will also be available in some European betting markets.
This virtual game is more evidence of how the NBA continues to embrace legal sports betting in America. That’s the reason the NBA keeps growing and expanding its brand by becoming the 1st major US sports league to enter the virtual sports wagering space. But this isn’t the first time that the NBA has set the standards.
As the Garden State was fighting to have state-sanctioned sports wagering allowed, the league’s commissioner, Adam Silver, was very vocal in his support of striking down PAPSA. When the Supreme Court finally gave states the power to make decisions regarding sports betting in their regions, the NBA was among the first leagues to look for sports betting partners such as FanDuel BetMGM, as well as BetStars.
The NBA has already embraced the incorporation of wagering during live game telecasts. Sportsbook partners such as FanDuel are also aiming to create live streaming services within all their online sportsbooks. It appears as though the NBA is not afraid to embrace innovation, which is great news for gamblers now and the future. Now that the NBA has proven itself to be a trendsetter, hopefully, other leagues can follow in its footsteps.
No one would ever have imagined living in a world sans basketball. However, after shutdowns forced the league to shut down, the NBA is finally back on and no one is more delighted than wagering sports fans.
It took 3 long and tough months before the league, its players, and stakeholders came to an agreement that saw the commencement of the season. And now, the season is underway, with 22 teams battling it out. As soon as the NBA announced its return, futures betting began picking up, which in turn triggered an uptick in NBA betting that hasn’t slowed down since.