MGM Leverages Borgata Presence To Enter The PA Online Gaming Market

The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) confirmed receipt of MGM’s $12 million payment required to apply for a complete PA interactive gaming license. 

MGM Resorts International hopes its New Jersey online gaming presence will earn the company a spot in the Pennsylvania online gambling market.

According to Online Poker Report, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) confirmed receipt of MGM’s $12 million payment required to apply for a complete PA interactive gaming license.

The complete gaming license includes three parts:

  • Non-peer-to-peer simulating slot machines
  • Peer-to-peer simulating poker
  • Non-peer-to-peer simulating banked table games

Each license costs $4 million and can be bought individually or as a package. It seems MGM wants it all.

Opening the door to PA online gaming

The first round of license applications was exclusively open to the 13 PA casino license holders. There were 39 licenses available, 13 of each kind.

Casinos were not required to apply, and if they did apply, they did not have to apply for all of them.

When the application window closed, seven licenses remained. Three more were added to the mix when Rivers Casino relinquished the rights to its licenses.

That makes 10 licenses available to Qualified Gaming Entities (QGE). MGM, as the owner of nearby Borgata and other casinos across the country, meets the requirements of a QGE. And it has its sights on three of the 10 available licenses.

The application window for QGEs closes on Oct. 31. The PGCB will randomly award the remaining ten permits sometime in the near future. There is no indication as to the date of the drawing.

Additionally, there is no confirmation on how many QGEs applied. MGM has done what it can at this point.

Interestingly enough, it is a little ironic that a casino is waiting for the outcome of a draw to see if it hit the jackpot.

MGM leveraging its brand

MGM has been busy growing its online casino and sports betting footprint. Gaining access to the Pennsylvania market has been on MGM’s agenda for a while now.

More than likely, part of its motivation is that a sports betting license is only available to those with a casino license.

The gaming company also seems to be doubling-down on major sports league partnerships. Earlier this week, the company signed its second sponsorship agreement with a major sports league.

As a result, MGM is now the “official resort destination” of the NHL. This news came around the same time as the New Jersey Devils signed two sponsorship deals of its own.

With properties up and down the eastern seaboard, and a slice of NJ sports betting to boot, it makes sense that MGM wants into the Pennsylvania market.

One of the reasons could simply be to retain its customer base that currently makes the trek from PA to NJ to play some slots or place a sports bet.

A focus on sports betting in New Jersey and beyond

It’s no wonder there is a focus on sports betting. Let’s face it: It is the shiny new object in the online gaming space. Borgata has been a dominant presence among  Atlantic City casinos.

In September, the NJ sportsbook brought in a sports betting revenue total of $2.5 million. Not too shabby for a nascent NJ sports betting market.

Pennsylvania’s population is 25 percent larger than that of NJ. As such, it stands to reason that its online gaming and sportsbook earning potential will be higher.

It certainly explains MGM’s recent partnership agreement with Boyd Gaming, the previously mentioned sponsorships with two sports leagues, and the rumors about MGM being the ideal suitor if Stadium Casino is indeed for sale.

Of course, the most direct way into the PA gaming market is with those interactive gaming licenses. At this point, it is a wait and see for the casino giant.

MGM Now Has Deals With Both The NBA And NHL For Sports Betting

MGM Resorts picked up a second major sports league as a sports betting partner. Its non-exclusive deal with the NHL allows for databse sharing, advertising.

Once again, a professional sports league is bringing legalized sports betting into its corner.

In a Monday press conference, the NHL announced that MGM Resorts International will become the league’s official sports betting partner. Per the press release, the deal represents “a groundbreaking, multi-year strategic relationship in the sports betting category.”

While “groundbreaking” for the NHL, this becomes the second such partnership for MGM, which inked a similar deal with the NBA in July.

From NHL commissioner Gary Bettman:

“The new sports betting landscape presents a unique opportunity for fan engagement utilizing technology and data that are exclusive to our League. As a leading global gaming operator and entertainment company, MGM Resorts is the perfect partner for us to begin our transformative entry into this space. Fan engagement, technological advancement and innovation are paramount to our progressive approach and will be at the forefront of everything we do.”

Data and databases included in the deal

Courtesy of its partnership with the NHL, MGM will have access to “intellectual property,” which includes official league data. The deal also features database sharing between the two organizations.

The league, via its “communications to subscribers from the NHL’s robust fan database,” will market MGM’s variety of brands. That includes the company’s M life Rewards program, which boasts 31 million members.

Additionally, NHL data, including puck tracking that the league expects to roll out next season, will become available to MGM. Such information would allow for more in-play wagering. MGM will also have access to logos and trademarks for all 31 teams.

That said, this partnership is not exclusive for marketing or data purposes.

AGA on board

A month ago, a US House subcommittee gathered to discuss the viability of federal government getting involved in legalized sports betting. Naturally, the American Gaming Association led a staunch opposition to such inclusion.

The NHL-MGM partnership — along with MGM’s deal with the NBA — is more acceptable, and beneficial for all.

In a statement from AGA Senior Vice President of Public Affairs Sara Slane:

“Sports betting agreements through contracts enhance the fan and consumer experience. The NHL’s announcement today further strengthens the bond between sports entities and gaming companies, who are each committed to preserving the integrity of the game. As legal sports betting expands, we are encouraged by the growing relationship between gaming companies and the major sports leagues.”

Changing sides

The NHL joined other pro leagues and the NCAA to fight New Jersey in a battle for legalized sports betting. Eventually, the US Supreme Court decision in that case struck down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA). Bettman actually had a hand in creating the PASPA legislation. Nonetheless, the Supreme Court decision changed Bettman’s position on state-sanctioned industries such as NJ sports betting.

On top of that, Bettman downplayed the necessity of integrity fees.

“I think, because a lot of terms get thrown around like integrity fees and the like, which is something that we’ve never pursued, I never worried and I don’t worry about the integrity of our game. The integrity of our game has been strong throughout a period where virtually all of the betting has been not through legal sportsbooks.”

Will not impact individual team sponsorships

Bettman assured that Monday’s announced partnership with MGM will not impact the individual sponsorship deals of its teams.

Bookmaker William Hill US has recently teamed with two franchises: the Vegas Golden Knights and New Jersey Devils.

Specifically, its partnership with the Devils features the installation of a William Hill-branded lounge inside the Prudential Center in Newark. The bookmaker can use that space to market its mobile app, which allows fans to bet from their seats. However, there will not be any betting windows or kiosk wagering available.

Bettman said in Monday’s press conference that he does not envision sportsbooks taking up real estate within NHL facilities.

Start Your Engines: MGM’s Mobile Sportsbook In NJ Goes Live

MGM Resorts will launch New Jersey’s first online and mobile sportsbook by the end of the week, according to CEO Jim Murren. The playMGM NJ sports betting app is on its way.

It appears MGM Resorts International and its Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa are now part of the New Jersey online and mobile sportsbook market.

In early August, MGM Resorts International Chairman and CEO Jim Murren said the company planned to launch a New Jersey mobile sports betting product by the end of the week.

Now, almost three weeks later, playMGM soft-launched its NJ mobile sportsbook app, joining DraftKings Sportsbook in the new online sports betting market.

Murren was speaking at a July 31 New York City press conference announcing MGM had become the official gaming partner of the NBA and WNBA at the time.

The NJ playMGM sports betting app

Murren was talking about MGM’s sports betting operations in Las Vegas and Atlantic City when he may have unwittingly revealed its playMGM sports betting app is ready to launch in the Garden State:

“Fortunately we have a running start here, because we operate the largest sports betting operation in Las Vegas with our 10 resorts. We hub out of the Mirage property, but as you know, we own properties up and down the Las Vegas Boulevard. And our playMGM app has been active for quite some time and is already quite popular.

“Closer to home here, of course we own Borgata, and at the end of this week, we’ll be taking mobile bets from Borgata and playMGM in New Jersey.”

Then there’s the NJ sports betting law

Recall that NJ sports betting was legalized at racetracks and casinos on June 11.

The law allows licensed sportsbooks to launch online and mobile sports betting products 30 days after it passed. However, none have.

In fact, Murren’s comments are the first from any casino or racetrack operator indicating it has an online or mobile NJ sports betting product ready to launch.

The state’s first sportsbooks

The Monmouth Park Sports Book by William Hill at the Oceanport track was the first to take a legal bet in the state, launching on June 14.

However, the converted Race & Sports Book at Borgata opened just a few hours later, becoming the first Atlantic City casino to get in on the action.

At the time, Borgata President and CEO Marcus Glover said the organization had plans in the final stages of design to make significant additions to complement the existing facilities. Details and a timeline for that project have not yet been released.

Borgata’s Race & Sports Book offers betting lines and odds directly from MGM Resorts in Las Vegas.

There’s an app for that

These same odds are offered on the very popular playMGM mobile sports betting app operating on an IGT software platform in Nevada. It uses geolocation software and age verification to ensure the legality of all mobile bets.

MGM will likely launch a version of the same app in New Jersey.

The app offers wagers on a variety of sports betting formats, including:

  • Futures
  • Live wagers
  • Moneylines
  • Parlays
  • Point spreads
  • Propositions
  • Teasers

Earlier this week, MGM also announced it had struck a deal with Boyd Gaming to take its online gambling and sports betting products nationwide.

It’s likely that MGM’s announcement will spur Caesars, Golden Nugget and other potential NJ sports betting operators to join the online wagering market soon.

The MGM edge in sports betting

At Tuesday’s press conference, Murren did not say being first to launch mobile sports betting in New Jersey would give MGM an edge over the competition.

Instead, he said the MGM name will get that job done:

“I think that the experienced gaming customer, and even the novice, is really going to gravitate toward integrity, trust, branding, information. And I think this provides us a tremendous advantage over my competitors.”

Who Will Follow DraftKings Sportsbook Into The NJ Online Sports Betting Market?

The DraftKings Sportsbook app became the first to launch mobile sports betting in New Jersey this week, prompting questions of exactly who will be next. Will it be MGM or Caesars or another surprise?

The DraftKings Sportsbook app became the first to officially launch mobile sports betting in New Jersey this week, prompting questions of exactly who will be next.

The mobile sports betting product actually opened up last week with an invite-only soft-launch despite no physical sportsbook location at its land-based casino partner, Resorts.

The mobile sportsbook got the thumbs up from New Jersey gaming regulators this week, and the group opened up its NJ sportsbook app to the public on Monday.

The move made the DraftKings Sportsbook the first mobile sports wagering app to open in the New Jersey market, and the first outside Nevada.

So who will be next to launch in the NJ online sports betting world? Let’s check in on the prospective candidates:

Caesars is getting things in order

Caesars Atlantic City has not released plans to open a retail sports betting operation on the property. Its sister properties — Bally’s and Harrah’s — did open sportsbooks in Atlantic City just last week.

However, Caesars Entertainment has said it will launch a Caesars Casino & Sports mobile sportsbook app before the start of this fall’s National Football League season. The 2018 NFL season will begin with its annual Kickoff Game on Sept. 6.

The combo Caesars sports betting and casino app comes from the casino’s partnership with Scientific Games. And it’s already available for download even if all the pieces aren’t in play yet.

However, it won’t likely be the next one to start operations in the Garden State.

That spot seems reserved for the organization that had to be thinking it was beating everyone to market when it announced last week its popular Nevada sports betting app was coming to New Jersey.

The playMGM sports betting app

In fact, MGM Resorts International and its Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa seemed poised to launch New Jersey’s first online and mobile sportsbook when DraftKings and Resorts suddenly stole their thunder.

Speaking at a July 31 press conference announcing MGM had become the NBA’s official gaming partner, Chairman and CEO Jim Murren let it slip that the organization will start taking mobile bets in New Jersey at the end of the week.

The end of the week came and went without any further word from MGM. Or the launch of a mobile sportsbook. The DraftKings Sportsbook app launched instead.

However, Murren’s comments still suggest MGM is poised to launch mobile sports betting in New Jersey any day now.

It certainly has the technology ready to go. In fact, the very popular playMGM mobile sports betting app already runs on an IGT software platform in Nevada.

Therefore, it would appear MGM will be the next to launch mobile sports betting in New Jersey. That is unless it gets surprised by another daily fantasy sports turned sportsbook operator in the meantime.

Meadowlands + FanDuel Sportsbook

FanDuel Sportsbook at the Meadowlands opened its physical doors in July, and while it’s had a few growing pains, it has every intention of going online, too.

But like many operators in the state, FanDuel Group, the US arm of Paddy Power Betfair, has said very little about mobile sports betting plans other than to say they will have a sportsbook app up and running by football season.

However, if MGM really wants to be next, it has more to worry about than just FanDuel.

Ocean Resort and Monmouth Park

Sportsbook operator William Hill US now has two retail operations in New Jersey — Ocean Resort Casino and Monmouth Park. Plus, it has a popular Nevada sportsbook app of its own.

Its technology could seemingly become available in New Jersey with just a thumbs up from regulators. Plus, the flip of a switch.

The physical sportsbook at Ocean Resort opened for business in the center of the casino floor on June 28, just a couple weeks after Monmouth Park opened.

At this point, the casino’s sportsbook is only partially open, and ongoing construction keeps us from seeing what the final space will look like.

So what does this mean? William Hill, like MGM, has all its ducks in a row. And while nothing has been said for certain on a timeline for an online launch, both properties are likely on the same trajectory.

The other players in NJ sports betting

There are six operational sportsbooks in the state, four of which are casinos. So there are obviously still a few casinos (and racetracks for that matter) that have plans afoot for physical and mobile sports wagers.

But the chances are slim that they will beat the above contenders to the market if only because their plans are for the most part a mystery.

Golden Nugget AC

The Golden Nugget has a couple big partnerships in place with SBTech and Churchill Downs, but the implementation isn’t exactly clear yet.

The Churchill Downs factor is likely more a skin deal for the two, but even so, the launch of either its sportsbook or NJ gambling site is not imminent.

On the other hand, Golden Nugget operates live and virtual sportsbooks in Las Vegas, so it likely won’t need to hire a new supplier. But the timeline is unclear.

Hard Rock Atlantic City

Opening the same day as Ocean Resort, Hard Rock took over the former Trump Taj Mahal. In the weeks leading up to the big day, Hard Rock International had stayed mum on its NJ sports betting plans.

But at a press conference before the grand opening Guitar Smash, Hard Rock Chairman Jim Allen confirmed that sports betting is in the works for the property.

Then in July, a new partnership between Hard Rock and Bet365 surfaced in documents filed with the DGE. Bet365 will use Hard Rock as its entry point into the US market. You can expect to see its mobile app hit the virtual shelves at the appointed time, whenever that time may come.

And Tropicana?

The sale of Tropicana Atlantic City makes things a little complicated for its sportsbook plans, both online and in the casino.

Penn National Gaming owns the building. Eldorado Resorts owns the gaming operations. But neither company has made any NJ sports betting plans public just yet.

MGM Ready To Roll The Dice On $7 Million NJ Sportsbook If SCOTUS Fells PASPA

Earlier this month, MGM International announced at the Sports Betting USA Conference it will build a $7 million sports book at the Borgata in Atlantic City.

New Jersey’s sports betting case will be heard by the highest court in the land on Dec. 4. Meanwhile, the state’s casinos are already betting New Jersey will score a win.

MGM International announced it’s beginning construction on a sportsbook at Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa, a full six months before most experts believe the Supreme Court (SCOTUS) will rule on the matter.

MGM’s confidence indicates overwhelming sentiments among sports betting aficionados and the American public that SCOTUS will rule in favor of New Jersey’s bid to allow sports gambling. That move would end the legislation that has blocked sports betting in all but four states for the past 25 years: the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA).

Why the NJ sports betting case and PASPA are linked

PASPA is at the center of New Jersey’s case because the legislation essentially froze every state’s sports betting laws as they stood in 1993. At that time, only four states had sports betting; PASPA kept it that way.

New Jersey is now arguing PASPA violates the 10th Amendment’s anti-commandeering principle. Various landmark events over the past year seem to point to the fact that SCOTUS will rule in favor of New Jersey.

MGM not alone in expecting PASPA’s reversal

While it’s not a certainty, gaming executives treated PASPA’s demise as a foregone conclusion at the Sports Betting USA Conference earlier this month.

MGM announced on the second day of the two-day conference it will build its $7 million NJ sportsbook. In the event that SCOTUS rules against New Jersey, the space will likely function as a sports bar.

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WaPo survey says America doesn’t mind sports betting legalization

When PASPA came to life, its supporters argued that barring states from introducing legalized sports betting would curb the growth of illegal sports betting.

Fifty-six percent of Americans opposed sports betting in 1993. However, earlier this year the Washington Post published the results of a survey that showed, for the first time since PASPA, more of the American public is in favor of sports betting than against: 55 to 33 percent.

Another notable voice in the PASPA debate has been Major League Soccer Commissioner Don Garber, who told members of the press the United States is in the “dark ages” when it comes to sports betting.

Image by Luke H. Gordon / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

New Jersey Online Gambling Gets Two New Sites, Including One From MGM

The options for New Jersey online gambling have increased for residents and visitors this summer, including the launch of MGM’s first branded offering.

The options for New Jersey online gambling have increased for the state’s residents and visitors this summer, including the launch of MGM’s first branded offering in the market.

Here comes MGM to NJ online gambling

MGM Resorts International was already involved in the NJ online casino market, as it owns 100 percent of the Borgata now. (Borgata already runs its own online gambling and poker sites, in addition to other brands being under its online gaming license in the state.)

But for the first time, MGM will have its name on an online casino that takes real-money wagers. That goes not just for New Jersey, but for anywhere.

Its PlayMGM offering has both online casino games and online poker, powered by GAN.

The casino will not be functionally different from the existing Borgata casino that uses the same software. But it will include MGM branding.

The same goes for online poker. PlayMGM’s online poker room will be a part of the Borgata / Party Poker NJ network, with the same software but its own look and branding.

What MGM’s appearance means for NJ

MGM going live in New Jersey certainly signals the gaming and resort company’s desire to be in the iGaming space in a meaningful way. The company likely has designs beyond New Jersey, as other states consider legalization of online gambling.

“We are thrilled to be entering the online gaming landscape in New Jersey with the expansion of our platform to include both casino and poker games,” said Corey Sanders, Chief Operating Officer of MGM, in a press release about the launch.

“The ability to effectively bring Las Vegas to New Jersey via an online experience is an exciting undertaking, especially as we continue to develop our presence on the East Coast with the recent acquisition of Borgata, the opening of MGM National Harbor and the pending 2018 opening of MGM Springfield in Massachusetts.”

Massachusetts is a possibility for legalizing iGaming in the near term, but Maryland (home of National Harbor) has not been on the radar for online poker and casinos.

How much it will move the needle in an existing market that has been seeing 30 percent year-over-year growth remains to be seen. But the presence of MGM-branded online casinos in other states could move the needle immediately, because of its widely known brand recognition.

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Scores joins the NJ online gambling party, too

Another online casino is also now available in the state — via the strip club chain Scores.

Atlantic City is no longer home to a Scores club — it closed after the Trump Taj Mahal closed its doors. But the brand is still well known — and there is the Scores in New York City.

The launch of the Scores casino had been much less publicized. It operates as an affiliate of Pala Casino, another platform under the Borgata gaming license.

The platform also features poker, appearing as a part of the Pala Poker network.

The addition of two new online casinos appears to signal no one thinks the NJ iGaming market is done growing. And if not that, everyone is still trying to get a larger piece of the iGaming revenue pie, which eclipses $20 million a month for the market as a whole.