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NHL, MGM Resorts form sports betting partnership

Commissioner Bettman calls deal 'exciting and groundbreaking for our League'

by Dan Rosen @drosennhl / Senior Writer

NHL, MGM Landmark Betting Deal

NHL, MGM Resorts form sports betting partnership

The National Hockey League and MGM Resorts agree on a multi-year sports betting partnership

  • 05:32 •

NEW YORK -- The NHL has named MGM Resorts the first official sports betting partner of the League.

The announcement of the multiyear partnership that designates MGM as an official gaming partner and resort destination of the NHL was made by NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman and MGM Resorts Chairman & CEO Jim Murren at a press conference Monday.

Commissioner Bettman called the partnership "both exciting and groundbreaking for our League." Murren called it "historic."

"This is a broad, encompassing relationship between two powerful brands," Commissioner Bettman said.

MGM will gain access to NHL intellectual property, including all trademarks, for marketing and promotion. MGM also will have access to real-time advanced game data that currently is being developed by the League.

Commissioner Bettman said the game data technology has been tested this season and is scheduled to undergo further tests.

"We're anticipating that it should be ready for primetime next season," he said.

Video: Bettman on NHL's new partnership with MGM Resorts

All members of MGM's M Life loyalty program, estimated by Murren at 31 million, will have access to opportunities to attend or get invitations to MGM-sponsored programs taking place at major NHL events, including the All-Star Game, Winter Classic and Stadium Series games, and the Stanley Cup Final.

"This is why I said this is broader than just a sports betting relationship," Commissioner Bettman said. "This involves us having a major sponsorship with each other."

Commissioner Bettman said MGM was a natural first partner for the League in the sports betting space because of a pre-existing relationship between the companies.

MGM is a part-owner of T-Mobile Arena, home of the Vegas Golden Knights. In addition, MGM Grand in Las Vegas was the host venue for the 2015 NHL Awards.

"It was easiest, most sensible to us to start with somebody who is already a partner and somebody we already had a working relationship with, namely MGM," Commissioner Bettman said.

MGM also is the first sports betting partner for the National Basketball Association.

"This is a very specific deal with the NHL," Murren said. "It was a product of some really good discussions back and forth, what's collectively important to ourselves and the League."

There is no exclusivity in the partnership between the NHL and MGM, meaning the League can enter into partnerships with other sports betting entities and give them access to the same real-time data MGM will receive.

Revenue created by this partnership is considered hockey-related revenue, which means owners and players will split it 50/50, according to the Collective Bargaining Agreement.

The revenue earned by the League in the partnership is fixed, meaning it is not entitled to any revenue based on actual bets placed.

The American Gaming Association released a report Oct. 2 saying the NHL's annual revenue may increase by $216 million because of legalized sports betting. NHL revenues exceeded $4.5 billion last season.

"I think the impacts that we will see from sports betting are more indirect but all positive in that respect of fan connectivity and fanbase growth," Commissioner Bettman said.

Commissioner Bettman said the partnership with MGM will not prevent individual teams from forming local partnerships with sports betting companies.

The New Jersey Devils have partnered with William Hill, a global sports book operator, on a multiyear agreement that features a sports betting lounge with more than 20 digital screens inside Prudential Center. The Vegas Golden Knights also have partnered with William Hill.

In addition to New Jersey and Nevada, Delaware, Mississippi, West Virginia and New Mexico have voted to legalize sports betting. More states are expected to follow suit.

"The way we've structured the framework for the League and the teams, not unlike television arrangements, there is a national component and we provide for the clubs to have a local component," Commissioner Bettman said. "If you happen to be in a jurisdiction that has sports betting your opportunities are going to be great for the club and the local market."

The partnership will have limited impact on the seven Canadian markets because single-game betting is not legalized in Canada. Parlay sports wagering is legalized on a provincial basis.

"I know there have been a lot of discussions about going to single-game betting as opposed to parlay, which is what currently exists," Commissioner Bettman said. "As the law evolves you'll see our evolution in dealing with it, which is what we've done here in the United States. A year ago we wouldn't be having this discussion. But the world changed and we're adapting to it."

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