As the NFL begins to accept the changing landscape of legal sports gambling, an upstart league is fully embracing betting on its games.
The Alliance of American Football has taken on MGM as an official gambling partner and will create an app that allows in-game betting.
That means if you’re watching an AAF game, you can bet with the app not just on whether a team will win or lose, but also on whether the next drive will score a touchdown. Or about who the next player to score will be, or even possibly make a bet after one play about the outcome of the next play.
“What’s great for us is the access, provided that it’s single entity, all the teams and venues are all aligned and there isn’t any union issues,” Scott Butera, MGM’s president of interactive gaming, told ESPN.
Butera’s reference to “union issues” is interesting: The AAF will not have a players’ union, which in the NFL or other major sports leagues might object to player data being sliced and diced for gambling purposes, at least if the players weren’t getting a cut of the action. The AAF will have players wearing trackers that makes data about things like how fast they’re running available to gamblers, something players’ unions also could oppose.
The AAF indicated that players might get paid more if gamblers are betting ore money on their plays: If you’re the running back that the most gamblers wager on to score a touchdown, you could profit off that. It’s safe to say the NFL is a long, long way from accepting anything like that.
Betting through the MGM app would currently only be legal in Nevada and New Jersey. It is unclear whether any other states will make such betting legal by the time the AAF season begins in February.