NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Sports and gambling have always be joined.  But now it’s a partnership.

For the first time ever, a sports league has created a partnership in the gambling industry, the NBA announced Tuesday.

“MGM Grand will become the NBA’s first official gaming partner,” NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said.

You won’t have to go to an MGM casino to bet the NBA, but the partnership opens the door to MGM creating a new betting system.

Part of the deal gives the casino the rights to all NBA data.  That means they can use official statistics to create in-game betting, commonly known as prop bets. You could bet on how many points Kristaps Porzingis gets in the third quarter or how many three-pointers Steph Curry has in the fourth quarter.

Recently, Silver even suggested gambling could be integrated into game broadcast.

“Whether it’s at a brick and mortar casino or the app online, it’s going to be an experience the MGM Grand and the NBA have worked on together where the consumer is first and foremost,” he said.

As part of the deal,  the NBA will get what they call an integrity fee on every NBA bet placed.  It’s similar to the one percent fee that New Jersey legislators declined to include.

“We never ran from the fact we could accomplish commercially what we thought we could achieve with the state legislature,” said Silver. “I’m certainly a believer in this sport and in game that there’s a place for appropriate regulation.”

After decades of sports leagues trying to distance themselves from gambling, the new partnership validates gaming in the mainstream and paves the way for more leagues to take the same step.

The legalized sports betting market is expected to blossom when the NFL season begins in about a month.

A reminder: while it’s legal in New Jersey, sports betting in New York is still outlawed.


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