The National Basketball Association and National Basketball Players Association have announced that they are working in partnership with Highlight Games to develop a virtual sports betting game based on the North American league. The game will be called NBA Last 90, and it is set to debut in the legal U.S. sports gambling market at the commencement of the 2019-20 NBA season.
Talking about the deal, the Head of Fantasy and Gaming at the NBA, Scott Kaufman-Ross, said that the organization is excited about giving their fans another innovative way to interact with the league. Scott said that the game would utilize real NBA content to deliver an authentic gaming experience to the fans.
On his part, Highlight Games CEO, Tim Green, stated that the company is delighted about entering the American sports betting and virtual sports market through the partnership. The CEO was optimistic that NBA Last 90 would be an instant hit with players around the world.
The game is also set to premiere in the European Gaming and lottery markets before launching in the U.S.
Game to utilize real NBA highlights
During the announcement, Highlights Games confirmed that NBA Last 90 would feature real NBA players and highlights. This aspect alone makes it a unique virtual sports product.
The game will allow players to bet on simulated competitions picked by a random number generator. However, these events will be selected from a huge archive of footage and highlights from recent NBA seasons.
Each tournament will pit two NBA teams against each other, and bettors will be presented with random possession statistics for each side throughout their recent matchups. Players will be allowed to bet on various outcomes such as which team will win a game, the number of points scored by each side, who will score first, and how many threes will be scored during the final 90 seconds of the competition.
The game will be distributed through licensed operators, and it will be available at retail sports betting outlets as well as online channels, including mobile applications.
Is virtual sports betting legal in the U.S.?
The question on the legality of virtual sports betting is likely to come up when NBA Last 90 is released. NBA Last 90 is the first-ever simulated sports betting game to be developed with the legal U.S. market in mind.
Since the annulment of the Federal ban on sports betting last year, 17 U.S. states have enacted laws to allow sports wagering within their jurisdictions. However, some of these states have laws that prohibit esports betting, and it is impossible to tell how they will interpret the regulations when it comes to simulated sports.
At the moment, only three states offer some form of simulated sports betting game, and the market is only available for virtual horse racing. The jurisdictions include Nevada, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. As for the remaining states, bettors will have to wait and see how lawmakers will react once the game tries to enter their jurisdiction.