Wizards-Bucks telecast will offer in-game betting

Brian Tinsman
January 10, 2019 - 10:36 pm
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Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

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The Washington Wizards have a chance to make a statement against the Milwaukee Bucks on Friday. You can bet on it.

In fact, NBC Sports Washington Plus will broadcast the game with a predictive gaming contest for in-game wagers. Those bets will be paired with real-time sports-betting data and statistics on the screen. Fans can participate by creating an account on NBC Sports Washington's website, which makes them eligible for the $500 prize.

This is the first of its kind for the Wizards, who will have eight such broadcasts this season. The commentary for these broadcasts will mirror the regular broadcast, but the screen will look very different.

In reality, this is a glimpse into the future, as the big four sports leagues are beginning to embrace widespread legalized sports gambling.

It's an interesting transformation, as the conversation around gambling has gone from paranoid fear of point-shaving to fear of losing out on major money after the Supreme Court legalized sports gambling nationwide last May.

The Wizards sound ready to hit the ground running.

“It’s the 1.0 version of where we’re ultimately going,” said Zach Leonsis, son of Wizards owner Ted Leonsis and an executive at Monumental Sports & Entertainment. “This will get more advanced. The challenge for operators will be to make sure that the gameplay is supportive and not interruptive of the broadcast itself."

In December, the D.C. City Council voted to legalize sports gambling, which could open the floodgates in time for MLB's opening day and the NHL and NBA playoffs.

NBC Sports Washington, which owns TV broadcast rights to the Wizards and Capitals, can seize the early market by incorporating it into the broadcasts and offering an additional fan experience.

 

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