Madison Square Garden Files for MSG Sports Betting App
In December, the Madison Square Garden Company filed the trademark “MSG” for a sports betting app. The Madison Square Garden Company began in 2010 when Cablevision spun off several entertainment assets into a single company. Those assets were Madison Square Garden, MSG Network, the New York Rangers, and the New York Knicks.
The MSG trademark filing at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office stated it was for a “downloadable mobile application for sports wagering, for organizing, arranging, conducting, and participating in sports wagering tournaments, for providing information related to sports betting.”
The Madison Square Garden Company intends to use the MSG trademark for “interactive peer-to-peer gambling competitions and tournaments”.
New York Sports Betting Industry
It is another sign that people plugged into the New York state economic and political scene are betting on legalized sports betting in the Empire State. Around the same time the trademark was filed, Caesars Entertainment signed a deal with the Oneida Indian Nation (OIN) to manage sportsbooks at the three OIN casinos in New York.
At the same time, MGM Resorts officials were planning a meeting with the New York Gaming Commission to discuss its pending acquisition of Yonkers Raceway and Empire City Casino. Months before, Tioga Downs owner Jeff Gural signed a deal with Paddy Power-Betfair to operate a sportsbook at the Upstate New York race track-casino — if ever New York state has legal sports betting.
The Madison Square Garden Company, controlled by the Dolan Family of New York Knicks fame, is therefore the latest group to prepare the way for New York sports betting. In 2018, an attempt by former State Sen. John Bonacic to pass a sports betting bill failed.
Joseph Addabbo: Sports Betting Support?
Now, State Sen. Joseph Addabbo, Bonacic’s replacement as chairman of the New York Senate Committee Racing, Gaming And Wagering Committee, looks as if he will pick up where his predecessor ended. Last week, Joseph Addabbo introduced Senate Bill 17 and Senate Bill 18, which would legalize sports betting and online poker, respectively.
If Addabbo plans to legalize online poker, then the less controversial subject of sports betting is likely to be more a slam dunk.
A spokesman for the MSG Company made reference to the possibility when he said, “We have said we’re very interested in the opportunities legalized sports gaming could bring, and recognize that we have a brand, in MSG, that is recognizable around the world for its connection to iconic sports.”
Josh Gerben on Dolan Family’s Intent
Some legal observers claim MSG is simply taking a precaution, in case the state legislature passes a sportsbook bill. Josh Gerben, a trademark lawyer and head of Washington DC’s Gerben Law, said a close reading of the trademark documents indicate James Dolan’s filing goes beyond a mere precaution.
Mr. Gerben pointed out that the trademark application contains a signed intent that MSG Company has “bona fide intent” to use the trademark for its stated “goods and services”. The DC-based lawyer said, “This means the company likely has real plans to launch an app and other services in the field of sports betting.”
About the Madison Square Garden Company
Madison Square Garden Company owns several venues which might become sites for sports betting apps. Of course, the company owns Madison Square Garden, which calls itself “The World’s Most Famous Arena”. MSG has been home to the Knicks and Rangers down through the years, but also to legendary boxing matches, NCAA tournaments, and a host of other sporting events.
The company also owns the Los Angeles Lakers former home, as well as two MSG Spheres arenas still under construction in Las Vegas and London. While the Forum is unlikely to host legal sports betting anytime soon, the other three venues could be significant mobile sports betting hubs for the Cablevision spinoff.
In Washington DC, the city council approved mobile sports betting which would be legal through kiosks at sports arenas that host the Washington Redskins, Nationals, Wizards, and Capitals. The Madison Square Garden Company could be envisioning something similar in their NBA basketball and NHL hockey arena — if New York sports betting passed.
The real news might be that the forces are arraying to push for sports betting. With Madison Square Garden and Cablevision getting into the business, the Dolan Family might join with Jeff Gural, Caesars Entertainment, MGM Resorts, and Paddy Power-Betfair in lobbying for legal New York sports betting.
Such investments usually are not in the way of a gamble, but more of a bet on a sure thing. Senate Bill 17 is likely to pass in 2019.