The NBA on Monday announced the launch of an alternate telecast centered on sports betting for select games, the latest broadcast enhancement for the NBA restart.
NBABet Stream will feature overlays displaying point spreads and odds, as well as betting analysis, beginning with the Oklahoma City Thunder-Denver Nuggets game Monday. The NBABet Stream broadcast is available on NBA League Pass, NBA TV via the NBA App and NBA.com through the league's direct-to-consumer subscription product.
With no fans physically present during the completion of the NBA's season, due to the coronavirus pandemic, the league is attempting to create a new experience for viewers, including different camera angles that would not be accessible with fans in the arena, as well as some virtual reality elements. Through a partnership with Microsoft, more than 300 fans each game appear live on 17-foot-tall video boards surrounding the court.
While teams in multiple sports have experimented with alternate broadcasts centered on betting, NBABet Stream is the first at the league level. It's the latest step in the NBA's aggressive approach to the new sports gambling landscape in the United States.
In May 2018, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992, the federal statute that had restricted regulated sports betting to primarily Nevada. Since the ruling, legal sportsbooks have opened in 18 states and the District of Columbia, and several more states are preparing to launch sports betting markets later this year.
After the Supreme Court decision, the NBA became the first major U.S. sports league to partner with a sportsbook operator, agreeing to a deal with MGM Resorts in July 2018. BetMGM's sportsbook will provide the odds for the betting broadcasts.
Over the weekend, the box office at Capital One Arena in Washington, home to the NBA's Washington Wizards, was transformed into a William Hill U.S. sportsbook, complete with betting windows and self-serve kiosks. It's the first physical sportsbook to open for business at a U.S. sports venue.