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Inside Gaming: UFC Unveils New Sports Betting Product

Inside Gaming: UFC Unveils New Sports Betting Product

UFC Unveils Sports Betting Product, Includes In-Game Wagering

As online sports betting continues to expand, more and more sports betting participants and providers are becoming familiar with "in-game wagering" as a popular betting option made possible by technology.

In-game wagering for major sports like football, basketball, and baseball has been around for a while, though other sports have been getting into in-game, too (try to say that quickly 10 times). For example, a couple of months ago in this space we shared how NASCAR had partnered with several casinos to begin providing "in-race" betting at selected sportsbooks.

This week comes news of another opportunity for in-game sports betting with the Ultimate Fighting Championship bringing the concept to mixed-martial arts. According to Bloomberg, UFC has partnered with IMG Arena to present a new product called UFC Event Centre that "will take official data from UFC, plus logos, photos, and fighter bios" in order to "create a full suite of gambling options for betting operators to incorporate into their apps and sportsbooks."

Among the many types of betting provided are 20 new "in-game" wagers covering "things like the number of take-down attempts, whether a fighter will get knocked down, total strikes landed, and the amount of time a fighter spends on the mat."

As Bloomberg explains, while other major sports leagues have made deals with data companies to create sports wagering products while also pursuing other partnerships to license logos, the Las Vegas-based UFC has chosen to handle all of that in a single partnership and package.

Sportsbooks wishing to use UFC Event Centre will need to pay a licensing fee for the software as well as to share gross gaming revenue in return for being able to access the data.

UFC Chief Operating Officer Lawrence Epstein is especially optimistic about the new product, citing how the demographic of the sport's fan base (mostly filled by men aged 21 to 44) hits the "sweet spot" when it comes to sports betting, as well as the fact that unlike other major sports UFC has no off-season.

"We're for anything that increases fan engagement," said Epstein.

In December 2018, PokerStars became the UFC's "Official Poker Partner," and in May of this year PokerStars added three UFC-related ambassadors in announcer Bruce Buffer, heavyweight champ Daniel Cormier, and light heavyweight fighter Johnny Walker.

Poll Shows Acceptance of Sports Betting Dramatically Higher Since Supreme Court Ruling

Speaking of sports betting, a new poll conducted by Seton Hall University reveals that since the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling last year paving the way for expanded sports betting throughout the country, the percentage of Americans in favor of legalizing sports betting has dramatically increased.

According to Seton Hall Sports Poll, a phone poll taken two weeks ago revealed 55% of respondents favored the current state-by-state process of legalizing sports betting, while an additional 25% percent said they favored sports betting being legalized nationwide.

Meanwhile just 16% said sports betting should not be legal anywhere, with the remaining 4% having no opinion. A total of 714 adults were surveyed by phone over a three-day period.

The combined 80% total contrasts sharply with a similar poll conducted in February 2017 when just 46% of respondents favored the legalization of sports betting.

"Public acceptance of legalized sports betting is moving at a rapid pace, likely tied to court approval," commented Rick Gentile, director of the Seton Hall Sports Poll.

Resorts Wants You to Know It Is "One of a Kind"

There are now nine casinos operating in Atlantic City, the oldest of which is the Resorts Casino Hotel that opened in 1978. As part of an effort to stand out from the crowd, Resorts announced on Tuesday a new marketing strategy the name of which is designed to highlight the property's unique qualities — "One of a Kind."

According to president and CEO Mark Giannantonio, the new campaign is the next logical step in efforts already begun by owner Morris Bailey and partner Mohegan Sun, reports The Press of Atlantic City.

"We think we got it right... with this ad campaign and how we are going to project ourselves to the world," said Giannantonio in a presentation to the press.

The campaign "is the result of market research, guest feedback and a true introspection of what the property stands for" according to Mary Tindall, VP of marketing for Resorts.

The announcement follows Resorts having teamed up with its neighbors, the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City and Ocean Casino Resort (both of which opened in June 2018), to establish a new district called "North Beach Atlantic City" and hold jointly-sponsored events with other businesses at that end of the Boardwalk.

Late last year the $6 million DraftKings Sportsbook opened at Resorts, and a $25 million renovation of the property's Ocean Tower was completed last year as well. According to Giannantonio, about $140 million has been spent improving the property over the last year.

Flynt Lawsuit Challenging California Law Allowed to Continue

Larry Flynt, the controversial founder of Hustler magazine and casino owner who is no stranger to legal battles, was in the news this week regarding his efforts to overturn a California law limiting how much those who own gambling licenses in the state can invest in out-of-state casinos.

First passed in 1986, the law prohibits California residents who hold gambling licenses from investing more than 1% in casinos in other states. Flynt, who owns the Hustler Casino and Lucky Lady Casino (both in Gardena), is mounting a challenge the law, and on Monday a Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals panel voted in favor of allowing the matter to go forward.

Flynt and two others — Haig Kelegian Sr. and Haig Kelegian Jr., owners of the Crystal Casino in Compton — began the lawsuit three years ago though a federal judge dismissed the suit in 2017, thereby prompting the appeal to the Ninth Circuit, reports the Courthouse News Service.

The law was originally passed as a means to prevent organized crime from investing in California cardrooms and casinos, though Flynt and his co-plaintiffs now argue the law "is outdated and unconstitutional."

The judges on the Ninth Circuit panel voted 2-1 in favor of allowing the lawsuit to proceed.

Image: "Shot of the Octagon as Chris Weidman upsets Anderson Silva at UFC 162," Kevlar, public domain.

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Sharelines
  • UFC unveils new sports betting product; new poll shows 80% favor legalized wagering on sports.

  • UFC introduces a new partnership and sports betting product that allows for in-game wagering.

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