MGM Resorts Is Positioning Itself As A Big Player In US Sports Betting

Written By Katie Callahan on August 9, 2018
MGM Resorts is expanding its US sports betting presence.

MGM Resorts International has had a slew of intriguing new announcements recently, reinforcing its position as one of the leaders in the sports betting market.

While MGM maintains its position with multiple brick-and-mortar locations in Nevada, the company is increasingly competitive in sports betting in other states.

The latest news on MGM involves various companies:

  • Boyd Gaming
  • GVC Holdings (Ladbrokes Coral and Bwin.Party)
  • (W)NBA

Most recently, MGM partnered with Boyd Gaming to expand online and mobile gaming. Together, the two will access 15 more states, four of which already have legal online and mobile gaming, and seven of which are looking to add sports betting by 2019.

Here’s MGM’s and Boyd’s dominating presence in the U.S.:



Embracing the sports betting market

Already, Boyd and MGM shared Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa in Atlantic City, until MGM bought Boyd out in 2016 (with no hard feelings). Boyd’s acquisition of Valley Forge Casino for $280.5 million will finally get MGM into Pennsylvania.

MGM and GVC Holdings joined up for a $200 million project on sports betting. The pair will split that project cost in half. GVC, the parent company of Ladbrokes Coral, is home to Bwin.Party, and will has five states dedicated to sports betting platforms.

Boyd president and CEO Keith Smith talked about the partnership when MGM bought Borgata:

“Our industry is evolving, providing opportunities for growth through new forms of gaming like online and mobile gaming. Thanks to our partnership with MGM Resorts, Boyd Gaming will have the opportunity to potentially add an online presence in five additional states, positioning us for significant future growth as our respective companies take a leadership role in our industry’s evolution.”

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Becoming an official gaming partner

Despite strong sports league opposition to date, the NBA announced MGM as the league’s first “official gaming partner” in a press conference July 31 with Commissioner Adam Silver and Jim Murren, CEO of MGM Resorts.

MGM already hosts the NBA Summer League and owns the WNBA franchise, the Las Vegas Aces. MGM bought the Aces in 2017.

Because MGM has resorts in both Nevada and New Jersey, Murren commented at the press conference that mobile wagers for NJ sports betting could begin soon, although the launch has yet to come.

This deal was considered a win for sports betting advocates caught in legal conversation about integrity fees up until this point.

Sara Slane, senior vice president of public affairs for the American Gaming Association, reiterated that this was the way sports betting deals should be done, via contracts, not statutory obligations.

“Today’s announcement highlights the symbiotic partnership between casino gaming companies and sports entities. We anticipate this is the first of many to come,” she told Legal Sports Report.

This multi-year partnership will include anonymized real-time data sharing (and branding), integration across NBA platforms with special digital content, and marketing across the NBA platform and app and vice versa with MGM Resorts’ sports betting platforms.

Bringing in NBA data

The NBA has maintained its focus on game integrity and appears to be on the same page with MGM. Silver said this in their press release:

“As the landscape for sports betting in the U.S. continues to evolve at a rapid pace, MGM Resorts is a proven gaming leader for us to work with on this groundbreaking partnership. Our collaboration will result in the best possible gaming and entertainment experience for consumers through the use of accurate, real-time NBA and WNBA data, and our collective efforts to maintain and enhance the integrity of our games.”

Even so, MGM has dedicated itself to great brands, market access, and technology.

“But we also need the best possible technology, the best in-game betting experience which we get with GVC, and now we have tremendous data, analytics and information from the NBA, and that will determine who wins and loses in this arena, the sports betting arena, in the US. And I think MGM is going to win,” Murren said at the press conference, according to Legal Sports Report.

Caesars accepting sports bets

MGM isn’t the only one looking to make deals and expand. Caesars Entertainment plans to open a sportsbook and start accepting bets in New Jersey and Mississippi.

Additionally, Caesars will move online and mobile sports betting with Scientific Games. Using Scientific Games’ OpenBet sportsbook technology, Caesars can effectively and quickly launch its land-based and digital sports betting platforms.

Barry Cottle, president and chief executive officer of Scientific Games, had this to say:

“We’re thrilled to partner with Caesars to help them bring best-in-class sports wagering experiences to their players. With OpenBet, our powerful and robust sportsbook platform, Caesars will have a truly open platform and end-to-end product suite that delivers the very best and flexible solutions and has proven success managing the largest share of the world’s online bets, more than 2 billion online bets annually. Our SG Digital team is excited to help Caesars stay ahead of the game, as they work to expand their sports betting, digital and mobile offerings into newly regulated markets.”

This agreement is the first all-American partnership, with an American casino and American software provider.

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Katie Callahan

Katie Callahan is a freelance journalist, blogger and copywriter who covers everything from poker, business, education and politics to construction, startups and cybersecurity.

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