US LeoVegas Launch Appears Dead, Opening an NJ Online Casino Slot

The US LeoVegas launch appears dead. Or, to be more precise, “terminated.” While the NJ online casino app may have become a small player in the US online gambling operator landscape, it’s now owned by a company that’s not allowed to compete with its own app. A subsidiary of MGM Resorts International just bought Stockholm-headquartered LeoVegas Group.

MGM leaders said the company bought LeoVegas for $604 million so the Las Vegas-based retail casino chain could establish an international online gambling presence. LeoVegas already operates brands in Ontario and Europe.

Meanwhile, NJ online casino players primarily associate MGM with BetMGM, its joint venture with Entain. BetMGM is the No. 1 American online casino, in terms of market share.

As Entain’s July 2018 announcement about the joint venture says:

The new venture will have exclusive access to all US land-based and online sports betting, online real money, and free-to-play casino gaming, major tournament and online poker, and other similar future interactive businesses.

So, just days after LeoVegas stock stopped trading on Sept. 22, the company filed paperwork on Sept. 30 with the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE).

The document signed by DGE Director David Rebuck reads:

The Division of Gaming Enforcement (“Division”) has completed its review of PRN 2702203, which seeks authorization to conduct internet gaming-related business transactional between Tropicana Atlantic City Corp. d/b/a Tropicana Casino and Resort, Caesars Interactive Entertainment New Jersey, LLC, and LeoVegas NJ, LLC, an applicant for casino service industry enterprise (“CSIE”) licensure, pursuant to a September 2022 Termination Agreement, which was previously provided to the Division.

Since that DGE filing, MGM stock rose more than 13%.

US LeoVegas Launch Paused, Now Dead

A US LeoVegas launch was still possible up until company shareholders accepted the bid from MGM’s Stockholm-positioned “indirect subsidiary” MGM Casino Next Lion (MGM CNL). They agreed to the price on Aug. 31.

However, as late as Aug. 11, LeoVegas CEO Gustaf Hagman was telling investors the company could resuscitate its plans. On May 2021, LeoVegas announced it would launch its “King of Casino” platform in the US in “the first half of 2022,” starting with New Jersey.

MGM announced plans to buy LeoVegas in May 2022.

On Aug. 11, Hagman says in the Q2 2022 report:

The expansion project in the US and New Jersey was paused at the end of the quarter due to the ongoing bid and the initiatives and obligations that MGM already has in the US market. The assessment is therefore that the most responsible course of action is to pause the expansion until we know whether the bid on LeoVegas will be accepted. If a launch is made possible in the future, we will be able to resume the US expansion with a short start-up period.

That statement now appears moot.

So without a US LeoVegas launch, it also seems as though Tropicana Atlantic City and Caesars Interactive Entertainment may be open to a new online casino partnership. At the moment, DGE only lists Caesars Sportsbook and Casino on Tropicana’s online casino license.

About the Author

Heather Fletcher

Heather Fletcher is the lead writer at NJ Gambling Sites, concentrating on online casino coverage. In March 2021, Fletcher began writing about online casino gambling as the lead writer for Online Poker Report. She holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from The Ohio State University, as well as a master's degree in journalism from New York University, and has now shifted to NJ Gambling Sites to lend her expertise.