The National Hockey League had always opposed sports betting before the Supreme Court legalized the practice. Now, it is one of the first professional sports leagues to embrace sports betting and partner with casinos.
Unsurprisingly, the partnership is already paying off for all parties involved – not only the MGM and its affiliate casinos but also the NHL, teams, and individual players and fans. Fans are already cashing in on the partnership by placing bets on fast paying casinos online on their mobile phones or in-person at brick-and-mortar casinos. Bettors can win big on their wagers, especially considering online casino bonuses and other rewards. However, the NHL also advocates for responsible gambling, as will be discussed later.
However, the partnership between the NHL and casinos is strategically important. Here is an overview of three ways the NHL, hockey fans, and the sports betting industry stand to benefit from this partnership.
Commissioner Bettman specifically described the NHL’s adoption of sports betting and partnership with casinos as a vehicle for more fan engagement. Approximately 12% of Americans bet on sports – a significant fraction of sports fans also bet on sports as a way to support their teams or make money (or both). The NHL’s move to embrace sports betting boosts fan engagement in several ways.
Branding and advertising are some of the leading ways how the partnership between the NHL and casinos boosts fan engagement. The partnership allows MGM and other casinos to display NHL and team logos on their sportsbooks’ odds boards, boosting brand awareness.
Overall, betting will also boost fan engagement. Interestingly, the NHL will not allow betting kiosks at NHL games, but fans can place bets on paypal casino sites (affiliated or unaffiliated with their casino partners) via their mobile devices. Placing bets via an online casino is especially convenient for fans because they can take advantage of offers such as casino bonuses and no deposit bets. The ability to place real-time bets on ongoing NHL games will give fans a vested interest in the games’ outcomes, boosting fan engagement.
Player Performance Tracking & Improvement
Besides revenue generation, player tracking is one of the most notable implications of the NHL’s partnership with casinos. The partnership allows casinos to track players’ performances based on individual factors such as their age and health. This is necessary for facilitating betting opportunities such as power-play success and overtime.
Player tracking will also benefit the NHL and individual teams and players. In fact, the league may implement this practice internally – it is already experimenting with camera-based technology. The data generated from tracking players can be analyzed and used in training to enhance their strengths and overcome their weaknesses, thus improving their performance.
Player tracking will also help improve NHL injury reporting practices. The NHL currently makes vague disclosures of players’ injuries – for example, a dislocated arm is usually described as an ‘upper-body’ injury. Expectedly, injury disclosures will be more specific – interestingly, this will also help boost fan engagement.
Gambling addiction is one of the reasons why the NHL opposed sports betting before the Supreme Court’s decision. The league still maintains its stance against irresponsible gambling, and it hopes to create responsible gambling awareness through its partnership with casinos.
The NHL will use its league-owned, in-arena, and digital marketing inventory to broadcast messages encouraging responsible gambling. It will use mediums such as animations, co-branded video board images, and public address announcements to get its message through to its audiences.
The NHL’s partnership with casinos is beneficial for all parties involved, including the league, its partner casinos, and individual teams, players, and fans. Most notably, the partnership is helping boost the NHL’s revenues and profits, of which players are entitled to 50% of the share. Fans are also benefiting from added player engagement thanks to the opportunity to bet on their favorite teams and track their favorite players’ performances.