North America’s National Basketball Association (NBA) and National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) have joined forces with Highlight Games to develop the first virtual sports betting game based on the US league.
Due to launch in regulated US and European markets during the 2019-20 NBA campaign, NBA Last 90 will feature an archive of highlights and footage from recent seasons.
Players will be able to wager on various outcomes such as which team will win, who will score on first possession and the total number of points scored by both sides – all during the last 90 seconds of a simulated matchup between two NBA teams.
NBA highlights and footage will be randomly pulled from any matches in recent seasons between two teams, to produce millions of possible outcomes.
NBA Last 90 will be made available across online, mobile and retail, with plans to initially distribute the game to licensed operators in Europe before rolling it out in the US market.
“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,” NBA’s had of fantasy and gaming, Scott Kaufman-Ross, said.
“With NBA Last 90, Highlight Games has created a new spin on virtual sports basketball and delivered an authentic gaming experience utilising real NBA content.”
Tim Green, chief executive of Highlight Games, added: “Highlight Games has an ambitious strategy to enter the nascent US sports betting and virtual sports market, and this collaboration is the first important step on that journey.
“NBA Last 90 features real NBA stars and real NBA highlights, differentiating it from any other virtual sports product on the market. We’re confident that players around the world will be instantly engaged with NBA Last 90.”
This represents the latest move by the NBA to capitalise on a rising interest in sports betting both in the US and overseas. Last August, the league began a new partnership with MGM, the first deal between a gaming operator and a US professional sports league.
Other recent initiatives include entering into a partnership with The Stars Group, striking data deals with both Sportradar and Genius Sports, and joining forces with Uruguayan betting operator Supermatch.