On Monday October 29, 2018, National Hockey League (NHL) commissioner Gary Bettman announced a multi-year partnership with MGM Resorts International (MGM), making MGM the NHL's first sports betting partner.
The NHL had previously long-resisted the inevitable move to legalized sports betting. However, Bettman said that he was not concerned about any impact on hockey's integrity in the wake of legalized betting. As part of the partnership, MGM will be granted access to the NHL's intellectual property, including logos and branding to promote to bettors. Additionally, MGM will have access to the NHL's proprietary real-time data, which will be generated by player tracker systems. The NHL hopes to make their player tracker systems functional for the start of the 2019-2020 season. The player tracker data could be an invaluable tool to bettors who value analytics, and could have far-reaching effects on in-game wagering. This data will not be exclusive to MGM. The NHL will split the partnerships revenue with the players, as it counts as "hockey related revenue" under the Collective Bargaining Agreement; however, the NHL will not share in MGM's hockey take.
This article was written with contributions from Tim Piscatelli.