The NHL on Monday became the second league to announce a betting sponsorship, and it's with the same partner that bought the NBA deal last month.
The league announced that MGM Resorts will be an official betting partner. Unlike the NBA's agreement, the NHL's designation with MGM is not exclusive. The NHL also didn't shy away from using the term "betting partner," while the official NBA language for MGM's deal is "official gaming partner."
The multiyear deal includes non-exclusive data rights, seen as essential for in-game betting speed. It also includes the rights for MGM to use logos of all the teams and makes the properties an NHL-sponsored resort destination.
That the NHL did this deal is not surprising given that the league is the only major pro league to have a team in Las Vegas and the landscape has significantly changed since May, when parts of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 were ruled unconstitutional, leaving it up to individual states to decide their sports betting fate.
But NHL commissioner Gary Bettman was staunchly against sports gambling, publicly and privately.
"It is my judgment that in terms of what we try to create, what we want to present, the atmosphere that we want people to feel part of, is inconsistent with sports betting," Bettman said in a deposition in 2012. "And I don't think you need a study to tell you that. I think if you're in touch with your game and your fans, you understand it."
Bettman said Monday that the Supreme Court decision made him change his opinion.
"The fact of the matter is, the world has changed," said Bettman, who just last year originally asked MGM to take the Golden Knights off the board at New York-New York and the Monte Carlo adjacent to the arena.
"I believe there was an opportunity here since it was happening anyway," said Bettman, who added that it also provides a greater opportunity for more fan engagement and interest.
NHL teams are free to do their own sponsorship deals with sportsbooks.
Last month, the Vegas Golden Knights announced a non-exclusive sportsbook sponsorship with William Hill, which has 108 sportsbooks in the state. MGM is a sponsor for the Knights and the company owns a piece of the T-Mobile Arena where they play and the land around it. MGM has committed about $700 million to the project, which included turning the Monte Carlo into a new hotel called Park MGM.
Last week, William Hill announced a partnership with the New Jersey Devils that includes a sports lounge where fans can bet off the company's app from inside the arena.
"Sports betting agreements through contracts enhance the fan and consumer experience," said Sara Slane, senior vice president of public affairs for the American Gaming Association, in a statement. "The NHL's announcement today further strengthens the bond between sports entities and gaming companies, who are each committed to preserving the integrity of the game. As legal sports betting expands, we are encouraged by the growing relationship between gaming companies and the major sports leagues."
MGM controls 42,000 rooms in Las Vegas on properties that feature 10 sportsbooks. MGM also has two sportsbooks at properties in Tunica and Biloxi, Mississippi, and a sportsbook at the Borgata in New Jersey. Its PlayMGM app is available to be used in Nevada, New Jersey and Mississippi.