Estonia’s largest casino operator, Olympic Entertainment Group AS (OEG) has become the official betting partner for American men’s professional basketball league, the National Basketball Association (NBA).

Covered under the exclusive multi-year partnership agreement are the Baltic States Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania, as well as Slovakia in Central Europe, where the Eastern European gaming operator will be able to use official NBA betting data in over 100 land-based casinos and gaming halls as well as with its sports betting service, OlyBet.

OlyBet has been owned and operated by OEG subsidiary Olympic Casino Eesti Ltd. since it was launched in 2013.

Also part of the deal, OEG will become a partner of the NBA’s free-to-play platform NBA Pick’Em which will be customized for the region.

Brand power:

According to the source, Chairman of the Management Board and Chief Executive Officer for Olympic Entertainment Group, Corey Plumer, commented on the new partnership, saying…

“We are incredibly excited to partner with the NBA over the coming years. Lovers of basketball in our markets will now have more opportunities to engage with the NBA through live games and local events, social media and the best betting experiences in Europe.

“The limitless brand power of this partnership compels us to be more ambitious and more innovative than ever before and I look forward to bringing this future to our combined base of customers and fans.”

Founded in 1993, OEG, as of 2018, had a total of 114 casinos and 23 betting points, operating 24 casinos in Estonia, 52 in Latvia, 17 in Lithuania, 6 in Slovakia, 14 in Italy and 1 in Malta. The Group employs nearly 3,000 people in 6 countries.

“Ideal” partnership:

For its part, the National Basketball Association’s Senior Vice President, Head of Fantasy & Gaming, Scott Kaufman-Ross, added…

“We are thrilled to partner with OEG, a market leader in gaming resorts in the region. The timing of our partnership is ideal, given the unique opportunity in which NBA games will be live in European primetime every day during the seeding stage of the season restart. “Our partnership will give OlyBet the tools to create the most authentic NBA betting experience in the region, providing another way for fans to engage with the NBA.”

NBA hiatus and “bubble” plan:

On March 11, the NBA announced that it had suspended the 2019-20 season “until further notice” after a player for the Utah Jazz tested positive for the coronavirus. After being on hiatus for over three months, on June 26 the NBA and National Basketball Players Association finalized a comprehensive plan to restart the 2019-20 season from July 30.

Included in the “bubble” plan are “stringent health and safety protocols, a single-site campus at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida and the goal of taking collective action to combat systemic racism and promote social justice.”

Reduced field:

Of the League’s 30 teams, including 29 in the U.S. and 1 in Canada (Toronto Raptors), only 22 would return to play; 9 in the Eastern Conference and 13 in the Western Conference. And while the season, for the most part, is back in “full swing,” due to COVID-19 health protocols, there will be no live audience or tickets available for the remaining 2019-20 season restart games through the NBA Finals.

2019-20 NBA Playoff schedule:

  • August 17 – first round of the playoffs begin
  • August 31 – conference semifinals begin
  • September 12 – conference finals
  • September 30 – finals begin

According to the NBA, the 2020-21 regular season will likely begin on December 1, 2020.