Rare indeed is the moment when an operator of any stripe can teach Uncle Sam new ways to create money and boost markets.
But this week saw a major quickening in the onward march of nascent online sports betting in the United States with breakthrough sponsorship deals announced between global gamers and premier NBA basketball and PGA golf.
And this could prove to be a defining, pivotal, moment in the drive to familiarize, educate and further monetize the potentially vast U.S. online sports betting market through linkage with elite sporting teams and institutions.
Top NBA (National Basketball Association) side The Indiana Pacers have announced a multi-year partnership with PointsBet, a premier global sportsbook operator, who are now an official sports gaming partner of the team.
As part of the agreement, PointsBet branding will be displayed along what is known as the “apron,” the out-of-bounds space between the baseline and the team bench, a first for any gaming outfit.
PointsBet will also have a presence on the Pacers’ digital platforms and the firm’s signage will be prominently displayed throughout the playing arena.
And in equally significant–if not greater—news, it was also announced that BetMGM, MGM’s Resorts International’s sports betting brand, has become the official betting operator of the PGA (Professional Golfers’ Association) Tour.
The PGA Tour is already one of the most popular offerings on the BetMGM platform.
Following the news, MGM shares surged two per cent to US$16.44 (£12.48) on the New York Stock Exchange.
BetMGM signed a multi-year “content and marketing relationship” with the tour, gaining the rights to use PGA Tour marks and to advertise within its media and partner platforms, as well as content and video rights that allow BetMGM sportsbooks to create pre-game and post-game betting programming.
Norb Gambuzza, SVP Media Business Development for the PGA Tour, said the new deal would “accelerate” their sports betting strategy.
“It will enable the Tour to reach new fans and further engage current fans who enjoy betting on golf,” asserted Gambuzza.
An argument echoed by Matt Prevost, BetMGM’s Chief Marketing Officer, who added: “Our advanced betting technology, combined with the PGA Tour’s world-class competitions and iconic players, will not only advance the Tour’s position at the fore of professional sports, but the entire betting industry as well.”
Positivity was the byword at the Pacers-PointsBet deal too.
Rick Fuson, Pacers Sports & Entertainment President and COO, said: “The new agreement represents a real win for both our companies.
“We look forward to welcoming them in as a very visible brand at the Fieldhouse and through our various channels.”
Johnny Aitken, PointsBet USA CEO, agreed:
“Indiana represents a massive opportunity for PointsBet, and we will take a heavily localised approach to ensure we are delivering the best overall customer experience Indiana sports fans and bettors are seeking.
“We are very excited to bolster our presence within the ‘Hoosier’ State and surrounding areas, as well as to Indiana Pacers fans around the globe via this unique partnership,” said Aitken.
To help celebrate the partnership, PointsBet and the Indiana Pacers will provide new punters with a very special sign-up offer.
By entering the code “PACERS”, they will receive US$100 (£75.93) in free bets when they deposit and bet just $20 (£15.18).
Earlier this year, PointsBet became an “Authorized Sports Betting Operator” of the NBA, marking the company’s first partnership with a U.S. professional sports league.
Founded in Australia, PointsBet made its US debut in January, 2019 and is now one of the fastest growing sportsbooks in the country.
Meantime, the BetMGM mobile app is licensed for sports betting in Colorado, Indiana, Michigan, Mississippi, New Jersey, Nevada and West Virginia and is expected to be in another four states by the end of the year.
BetMGM have signed a number of partnerships in recent months, including deals with the Denver Broncos, the National Lacrosse League, Yahoo Sports and Buffalo Wild Wings.
MGM CEO Bill Hornbuckle has affirmed the company will continue to focus on growth opportunities within sports betting.
BetMGM is jointly owned by MGM and sports betting company GVC Holdings.
The current Covid-19 pandemic has boosted online sports betting in the United States–and across the world–as punters seek fresh virus-free action away from shuttered casinos and closed gaming machine floors.
BetMGM recently received an injection of US$250m (£189.85m) in capital, signifying confidence in the growing online betting market. Total investment has now reached US$450m (£351.74m).
And Hornbuckle is confident BetMGM will generate over US$130m (£98.72m) of net revenues this year.
“All of this demonstrates our continued commitment to positioning BetMGM as a leader in sports betting and iGaming,” said Hornbuckle.
Added BetMGM’s Chief Marketing Officer Matt Prevost: “Our advanced betting technology, combined with the PGA Tour’s world-class competitions and iconic players, will not only advance the Tour’s position at the forefront of professional sports, but the entire betting industry as well.”