Next season, you might be able to bet on NBA games both real and virtual.
On Wednesday, the NBA announced its partnership with Highlight Games Limited that will create NBA Last 90, a virtual sports betting game that will use actual NBA highlights and footage in its simulations. The product will debut in the US and European gaming and lottery markets during the 2019-20 NBA season.
Virtual betting experience to feature 90-second simulated games
The NBA’s Last 90 product will put bettors into the final 90 seconds of a simulated game between two actual NBA teams. Then, players can wager on which team will score first or win the game. Other betting lines could include three-pointers made or total points scored.
“Virtual sports betting is incredibly popular in regions around the world and we’re looking forward to giving fans another innovative way to engage with the NBA,” said NBA’s Head of Fantasy & Gaming Scott Kaufman-Ross.
NBA is proactive in its approach to sports betting
The product is the latest evidence of the NBA’s willingness to embrace sports gambling.
As noted by Bloomberg, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver was the first head of a major sports league to advocate for changing the laws that limited sports betting to Nevada. The NBA has also been active in lobbying efforts to support sports gaming. It has built partnerships with providers of daily fantasy sports. Furthermore, it was also the first league to sign a marketing deal with a sportsbook and the first to sign a gambling data distribution deal.
NBA Last 90 will debut in Europe, enter the US next year
The NBA Last 90 game will be distributed to licensed gaming operators across the world and will initially launch in Europe. It will expand to the United States later in the 2019-20 NBA season. Fans can expect to see NBA Last 90 across multiple channels, including retail locations, online and in mobile applications.
PA Lottery already offers virtual sports betting in XPress Sports products
The NBA’s Last 90 product is similar to the XPress Sports products the Pennsylvania Lottery offers already.
In XPress Football, players watch two virtual teams and wager among 16 possible outcomes on how a simulated drive will end. Wager amounts range from $1 to $20, and payouts are given to those who predict correct outcomes. A random number generator determines the virtual results.
In XPress Car Racing, 12 cars compete in a simulated two-lap race. Players have to predict which car numbers will finish first, second and third. Correct predictions on multiple fronts earn payouts.
NBA is betting on its own teams to fuel Last 90
The major difference between the PA Lottery’s XPress Sports products and the NBA’s upcoming Last 90 game seems to be the authenticity of the teams and highlights involved.
A preview of the Last 90 product featured highlights from a Cleveland Cavaliers/Golden State Warriors game in the NBA Finals. However, in a Last 90 game, the outcome is non-linear, different than what happened in real life, and created by a random number generator.
The result is a simulated game that seems incredibly real. The preview featured shots by Kevin Durant, Steph Curry and LeBron James.
All the players, teams, and even the moments you remember are real. It’s just the order that is different.
“NBA Last 90 features real NBA stars and real NBA highlights. (That’s what) differentiates it from any other virtual sports product on the market,” Tim Green, CEO of Highlight Games, said in the press release. “We’re confident that players around the world will be instantly engaged with NBA Last 90.”