Will MGM Move The Needle With Its New NJ Online Gambling Platform?

[toc]MGM Resorts International is already in the New Jersey online gambling market via its ownership of Borgata. That gives the casino giant oversight of its online gambling and poker platforms in the state.

But now, MGM is bringing its own branded site to New Jersey gamblers. Will that change the dynamics for NJ online gambling sites?

Here comes MGM in NJ

First, here’s what we know about MGM and online gambling.

The company already operates online casino and poker via its Borgata brand. It also has offerings via Pala (casino) and PartyPoker NJ.

That apparently isn’t enough for MGM, however, as it has plans to roll out a site branded as playMGM. It will be much like the current Borgata platform, just with MGM branding. The site should go live some time later this year.

It’s a big deal, because outside of some small-scale online slot tournaments in Nevada, MGM has never offered online gambling under the flagship banner. More from an MGM presser:

“This is a historic moment for MGM Resorts to be launching real money online casino and poker under the MGM brand for the first time,” said Corey Sanders, chief operating officer of MGM Resorts. “GVC has been a first-rate partner for us, and we are excited about the possibilities of extending that partnership as regulated markets open up in the U.S.”

The NJ iGaming marketplace already has a lot of different operators. Golden Nugget currently leads the way, while Caesars, Harrah’s and Tropicana are among the best-known brands in the market.

Is there room for another operator?

Well, there’s always room for more operators; the question is whether the effect will simply take away from existing sites or have an additive effect. The answer is somewhere in the middle.

PlayMGM will cannibalize some of the existing online gambling revenue in New Jersey; a lot of existing customers are likely to move their play to the new site.

At the same time, the MGM brand is widely known in the US and in New Jersey, even without a casino bearing its name in the state. That brand recognition could create and attract new customers that didn’t exist before.

The online casino market has set records for revenue in the past two months, so there’s certainly a chance that the industry isn’t done growing. And the addition of playMGM could spur more growth.

We’ve seen new brands come into the market and succeed in the past few years; undoubtedly MGM can do the same. It simply comes at a point where the industry is more mature than during other sites’ entry points.

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playMGM could be important beyond New Jersey

MGM’s move in New Jersey is important at the micro level. However, it’s even more important from a wider angle.

MGM is saying pretty loudly that it wants to be in the online gambling business in New Jersey. That means it probably wants to be in other legal and regulated markets, should the opportunity present itself. For one, it probably has its eye on Pennsylvania, which is considering legalization of iGaming.

The presence of MGM in online gambling could mean big things for the spread of online gambling beyond New Jersey. Legalization efforts could benefit from MGM’s lobbying.

For now, however, we’ll look to see how MGM fares with its coming offering in the Garden State.

About the Author

Dustin Gouker

Aside from his role as editor at LegalSportsReport.com, Dustin Gouker writes extensively about the legal online gaming and US online poker industries, having played poker recreationally for his entire adult life. He has also covered sports for The Washington Post and the D.C. Examiner, among others.