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By Hilary Russ
NEW YORK, Oct 29 (Reuters) - The National Hockey League announced an official sports betting partnership, its first ever, with MGM Resorts International on Monday, marking MGM’s second deal with a national league as legal sports betting spreads across the United States.
On July 31, MGM announced an agreement with the National Basketball Association, with the league agreeing to sell its official game data to the casino operator for undisclosed terms.
The deals mark an evolving sweet spot in the emerging U.S. legal sports betting market.
Casinos, racetracks, technology and data companies, fantasy sports providers, sports book operators and others are looking to team up following the U.S. Supreme Court decision in May allowing states to legalize sports betting.
That ruling overturned a prohibition on the activity outside of Nevada, so many states are now looking to regulate and tax the wagers.
The MGM agreements also prove that some companies in the casino industry are working behind the scenes with major sports leagues, despite public rancor between the two sides over some leagues’ requests to receive a cut of sports bets.
The NHL had a longstanding relationship with MGM, which “in many ways is already part of the NHL family,” Commissioner Gary Bettman said on Monday at a press event in New York.
MGM hosted a series of preseason NHL games for nearly 20 years in Las Vegas before the league placed a team, the Golden Knights, in the gambling mecca at the start of last season.
The multi-year alliance calls for the NHL to share its official game data and intellectual property, including team logos, with MGM. The data will not be exclusive to MGM, leaving the league open to similar deals with other sportsbooks.
The deal also covers “advanced game data” that the league is currently developing, intended to measure real-time action and is not just static and finite, Bettman said.
“Data’s the key,” said MGM Chief Executive Jim Murren. The data must be trusted, specific, endorsed and real-time, he said.
The monetary value of the deal was not disclosed. But it is a fixed price, not any portion of betting activity, Bettman said. (Reporting by Hilary Russ Editing by Bill Berkrot)