NBA’s Kings Launching Precursor to In-Arena Sports Betting

NBA’s Kings Launching Precursor to In-Arena Sports Betting

Sports betting isn’t legal yet in California or the District of Columbia, but in the meantime two NBA teams have positioned itself to cash in while giving fans a taste of the NBA betting experience.

The Kings are opening the Skyloft Predictive Gaming Lounge for premium ticketholders where they can visit during a game to place “bets” on how many points a player will score, and other statistics such as 3-pointers, assists, rebounds, steals, and turnovers.

The game is strictly for entertainment purposes with no money exchanging hands.

An NBA First

Sacramento is the first NBA team to offer such an at-game experience at its arena. The Kings will have the lounge operational beginning next month, with its grand opening occurring in Sacramento’s March 17 game versus the Chicago Bulls.

The lounge will also be open for games against the Brooklyn Nets (March 19), Dallas Mavericks (March 21) and Phoenix Suns (March 23).

“Basketball fans across the country are clamoring for gaming options, and we’re thrilled to be the first NBA team to bring this unique experience to Sacramento,” team owner and chairman Vivek Ranadivé said in a statement. “Predictive gaming is incredibly disruptive and will only continue to gain popularity in the NBA and beyond.”

Kings, Wizards at the Forefront

This marks the second sports betting-related experience that the Kings have initialized this year. Earlier this month, the team introduced a free-to-play mobile app called “Call the Shot” that allows fans to predict the scores of each game quarter in addition to a team’s collective performance or an individual players’ performance.

Contestants earn prizes by collecting virtual credits that can be redeemed for team souvenirs and game tickets. It sponsored by MGM Resorts International and is the first predictive game offered by an NBA team to fans.

The Kings are not the only NBA team embracing sports betting since the U.S. Supreme Court last May overturned a federal ban on legalized gambling outside Nevada.

The Washington Wizards have been offering a gambling-specific alternative television broadcast for select games featuring real-time odds and point spreads.

Within some of those broadcasts the team offered fans a free-to-play “Predict the Game” contest, where participants can guess on elements like which player will score a more points in a given quarter or whether a given player would have more assists than a counterpart. The winner receives a $500 prize.

NBA Taking the Lead

And the NBA itself has been at the forefront of embracing legalized sports betting following the Supreme Court’s decision.

The league signed deal with MGM last July that named MGM the exclusive official gaming partner of the NBA and WNBA, and allowed the company to use league logos, highlights and data in promoting its sports betting services. The pact was the first time a major U.S. sports league aligned with a sportsbook.

“I think it's no secret that the people who've been following this league know our first choice was to have a federal bill that would replace PASPA (Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992) and create a consistent national framework for sports betting, but that's not the landscape we're currently dealing with; we're working with state-by-state,” NBA commissioner Adam Silver said announcing the deal with MGM.

“And as I've also said, while we've had discussions throughout the country with state legislatures, we also indicated that we were open into entering into commercial relationships directly with casino operators.”

In addition to Nevada, legalized sportsbooks are now operational in Delaware, Mississippi, New Jersey, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and West Virginia. Of the eight states where sports betting is legal only Pennsylvania has an NBA team.

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