NBA Enters Groundbreaking Partnership for European Sports Betting

The NBA is entering into a partnership with the French National Lottery, in its first foray into the sports betting space in Europe.

The NBA is also looking at ways to exploit the legal sports betting environment in the United States. It has a new partnership with MGM Resorts, which is acting as the NBA’s official gaming partner.

MGM Group will now have access to all kinds of exclusive league data. The NBA in return will receive help with the integrity systems it is using to prevent issues such as match-fixing in the league.

The NBA clearly isn’t content with dealing with sports betting operators in North America. It is now getting into the European sports betting market, a region where the popularity of the league has been expanding of late.

The lottery deal

This new partnership is with Française des Jeux (FDJ), which will be the first European gaming partner for the league. The FDJ (roughly translated as he French Games) is the national lottery organization in France, which shows how significant a move this is.

The gaming aspect of the FDJ brand is known as Parions Sport, which will be pushing the NBA deal throughout the 27,000 retail locations it has in the country.

The NBA’s vice-president for global partnerships in Europe, Vandana Balachandar, said: “We are excited to partner with Française des Jeux , the market leader in sports betting in France. This collaboration will result in the best possible gaming and entertainment experience for consumers through the use of accurate, official, real-time NBA data, and demonstrates our collective efforts to maintain the integrity of our games.”

As part of the deal, FDJ will have access to exclusive league data, as well as being able to use NBA branding on its online and offline platforms. It will be helping to develop strong practices for integrity protection in the league.

The FDJ is also happy with the new partnership. Its head of operations said:  “Partnering with the NBA, the most prestigious basketball league in the world, will allow Parions Sport to get even closer to the action and offer a more refined gaming experience for gamers enabling us to reach yet more fans.”

Recent figures show that France’s online sports betting sector is more successful now than ever. The were significant increases in growth during 2018, in part thanks to the FIFA World Cup. Many hope that this strong trend will continue and that the NBA deal will improve the extent of basketball wagering.

The NBA going forward

This is one of a number of significant moves the NBA and the National Hockey League (NHL) have been making in the space as of late.

It is in stark contrast to the strong opposition they put forward when New Jersey was seeking an end to the federal ban on sports betting. Along with the other major sports leagues in the United States, the NBA fought tooth and nail to try and prevent the Supreme Court legalizing sports betting.

The NBA is now pushing for a more significant slice of the sports betting pie. Since the Supreme Court decision, it is looking for integrity fees, along with a number of other major sports leagues.

Potential integrity fees

Integrity fees would be a portion of every sports bet that falls under the banner of its organization. However, despite the NBA’s best lobbying efforts, no state has yet to include a provision for sports betting in their final sports betting bill.

Such a fee would cut too much into an operator’s profits, especially if a state is itself imposing a significant tax rate on the activity. This is why many believe the NBA will start pushing instead to issue licenses for the use of its official league data.

The NBA’s new gaming partners – the FDJ and MGM Resorts – have access to exclusive data currently. However, sports betting operators are using publicly available league data as part of their offering. They do not pay any sort of fee to the league for this data.

This is something the NBA will want to change in the future. It sees this data as its intellectual property and believes it deserves adequate compensation form those using it.

The NBA is continually on the lookout for more partnership opportunities. It would be no surprise to see it venture into the Asian and Australian markets. It will also continue the fight for integrity fees as other states look to legalize sports betting in 2019.

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