MGM Resorts, Major League Baseball announce sports wagering partnership agreement Howard Stutz, CDC Gaming Reports · November 27, 2018 at 4:13 pm MGM Resorts has added its third partnership agreement with a professional sports league, announcing Tuesday a data sharing and marketing agreement with Major League Baseball that includes a program element in Japan. Under the agreement – announced in New York City where the Ice Sports Betting USA conference is taking place – MGM Resorts will be designated as the first-ever “Official Gaming Partner of MLB” and “Official Entertainment Partner of MLB.” Major League Baseball will combine its brand with the gaming giant and MGM’s newly-created playMGM sports wagering endeavor with UK-based GVC Holdings. The partnership will cross both league and team sponsorships, include data usage in gaming, and promotions across MLB-owned media platforms. Financial terms were not disclosed. “We are thrilled to create a new one-of-a-kind fan experience for baseball fans,” MGM Resorts Chairman and CEO Jim Murren said in a statement. In July, MGM announced a partnership with the NBA and a similar arrangement with the NHL in October. Las Vegas-based marketing consultant Nehme E. Abouzeid said the deal gives MGM Resorts access to fans in three of the four major sports, each with their own distinct core fan. “We know that given a choice of two similar products, nearly three-quarters of fans will gravitate toward a product that is affiliated with their favorite sport,” said Abouzeid, who operates LaunchVegas LLC. “This deal helps MGM with ongoing branding to baseball fans, but it could also drive sportsbook revenue through direct response campaigns since it will likely have daily exposure to the MLB fan throughout the 162-game season and playoffs.” The deal with MGM would seemingly end any efforts by Major League Baseball to seek integrity fees from states where sports gambling has been legalized. In a statement, Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred Jr., said sports gambling is new to the league. “Our partnership with MGM will help us navigate this evolving space responsibly, and we look forward to the fan engagement opportunities ahead,” Manfred said. “We are pleased to partner with MGM Resorts International, a clear industry leader in the sports gaming area.” The Washington D.C.-based American Gaming Association said the agreement helps in the effort to eliminate the illegal sports betting market. “Agreements between sports leagues and the gaming industry enable all sports stakeholders to work together,” said Sara Slane, senior vice president of public affairs for the American Gaming Association. “With MLB’s announcement today, three major sports leagues now have official sports betting partners – evidence of our continued commitment to protecting the integrity of both consumers and sporting competitions and that contracts remain preferential to statutes in all sports betting deals.” MGM Resorts operates casinos in several markets where sports betting has been legalized, including Nevada, New Jersey and Mississippi, and is lobbying for legalizing the activity in the other states. The casino operator will utilize Major League Baseball’s official statistics feed throughout its digital and live domestic sports gaming businesses. MLB will also make enhanced statistics available to MGM on an exclusive basis. “Combining MGM Resorts’ world class entertainment and technology with MLB data will continue to transform a rapidly changing industry,” Murren said. “This partnership further amplifies the significance of our GVC (joint venture), firmly establishing MGM Resorts and playMGM as the market leader in partnerships with major professional sports leagues.” In Japan, where MGM Resorts is hoping to land one of three integrated resort licenses that would include a casino, the company will sponsor an interactive fan experience that will travel through country and celebrate Major League Baseball. Howard Stutz is the executive editor of CDC Gaming Reports. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @howardstutz on Twitter.