• NBA Commissioner Adam Silver expressed interest in sports gambling since before the federal ban known as PASPA was repealed.
  • Virtual sports gambling on simulated games is already available in Europe.
  • Virtual horse race betting is legal in multiple U.S. States.

NEW YORK – The NBA season may have ended earlier this month, but fans may now have a reason to see some familiar highlights at the start of next season.

In an announcement made by the league on Wednesday, the NBA will launch a virtual sports betting game called “NBA Last 90” and it will be available at the start of the 2019-2020 season in legal US sports gambling markets.

“Virtual sports gambling, already a popular gaming product throughout Europe, allows fans to bet on simulated sports events powered by a random number generator. NBA Last 90 will feature a vast archive of NBA highlights and footage from recent NBA seasons and will offer players a unique and compelling virtual sports gaming experience.”

Essentially, the game will put two teams pinned against each other and present random possessions each team had throughout the various matchups they’ve played over the past few years. This gives the possibility for a different outcome each time you bet, even though it all comes from past footage.

The types of bets to be included are how many threes are scored in the final 90 seconds, total number of points scored by both teams, which team will win the game, and so on.

While this will be the first virtual sports betting of its kind in the U.S., European bettors have shown just how profitable the activity can be. According to the U.K. Gambling Commission, 771.4 million pounds were bet on virtual sports from April 2017 to May 2018.

“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 Scott Kaufman-Ross, Head of Fantasy & Gaming, NBA.

Which States Will NBA Last 90 Be Available In?

The NBA has long been a pioneer to its approach on sports betting. In an interview with ESPN in April 2018, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver spoke in favor of legal U.S. sports betting saying “My view is it should be regulated.”

Only one month after that interview, the federal ban on sports betting known as the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) was repealed. The Supreme Court decision to overturn the federal law has given each state the freedom to shape their sports betting laws independently.

There are now as many as 17 states who could offer legal sports wagering by the end of 2019. However, certain provisions set forth in some of their laws could present a barrier to NBA Last 90 being available.

Some states have laws explicitly prohibiting betting on e-sports. While virtual or simulated sports can be argued to be completely different, there is no telling how lawmakers will interpret the law once NBA Last 90 tries to enter their state.

The closest type of legal virtual sports betting game that is available in the U.S. right now is the virtual horse racing game provided by bookmaker, William Hill U.S. The activity is offered at 19 William Hill sportsbooks in Nevada alone. Virtual betting on horses is also offered in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

Still, the newest initiative from the NBA should work in the leagues favor to capitalize on an ever-growing U.S. sports betting market. It should also help to clarify gambling laws in each state.

The deal comes between the National Basketball Association, the National Basketball Players Association, and Highlight Games Limited, a specialist gaming supplier.

“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,” said Tim Green, CEO of Highlight Games.

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