The National Basketball Association is taking a deeper dive into legalized gambling by launching a virtual sports betting game featuring NBA highlights and footage.
The NBA and the National Basketball Players Association is partnering with Highlight Games Limited, a London-based specialist games supplier, to create “NBA Last 90”.
The game allows contestants to make various wagers of the final 90 seconds of a simulated matchup between two NBA teams, such as who will score on the first possession and the total number of points scored by both teams.
“NBA Last 90” will debut in US and European gaming and lottery markets next season and will be distributed to licensed gaming operators in both regions.
With this initiative, the NBA will become the first major US sports league to enter the virtual sports betting market, which is growing in popularity in Europe.
“We’ve been looking at this the past couple years and were really surprised to see how popular this was,” Scott Kaufman-Ross, the NBA’s head of fantasy and gaming, told ESPN. “In Europe, we’re especially excited about using virtual as another way to engage with our fans with alternative content, especially given the time-zone challenges we have in the region.”
The NBA has already signed up MGM Resorts International as its official sports betting partner and has gaming partnerships with Supermatch, the Stars Group and Cordere. The league also has betting data partnerships with Sportradar and Genius Sports. The run of deals follow years of NBA Commissioner Adam Silver assuming an outspoken stance on the gambling issue and repeatedly pushing for more openness and clear regulation around the burgeoning space.