For the first time in the company’s history, casino titan MGM Resorts International has attached its name to an online gambling site.
Beginning on August 1 with a five-day “soft launch” period, the PlayMGM platform joined New Jersey’s real money iGaming industry.
The site is operated under the Borgata’s interactive gaming license, which also includes the Atlantic City icon’s Casino and Poker platforms, along with PartyPoker and the Pala Interactive family of brands.
In June of last year, MGM Resorts International completed a buyout of Boyd Gaming’s 50 percent stake in the Borgata, paying $900 million for full control over the property – and its collection of iGaming licensees.
PlayMGM is powered by GVC Holdings, which acquired PartyPoker parent company bwin.Party in a billion-dollar deal in February of 2016. The same software has been used successfully by the Borgata online casino, spreading more than 200 online slot titles, a dozen video poker variants, and several table games including blackjack, craps, roulette, and bingo.
The GVC-owned software used by the popular PartyPoker online poker room has also been co-opted to power the PlayMGM poker room, which will share its player pools with BorgataPoker.com and NJ.PartyPoker.com.
When plans for PlayMGM were announced in May, MGM Resorts International’s chief operating officer Corey Sanders issued a statement to mark the historic nature of the branding agreement:
“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.”
PlayMGM has rolled out the usual enticements to attract new players, beginning with a $25 free-play offer for newly registered players. This bonus doesn’t require a deposit, and the $25 can be used on any casino game, but players must meet a 20x “playthrough” requirement before any associated winnings can be withdrawn.
Casino players can also claim a match bonus of 100% on their first deposit, up to $2,000, with the same 20x playthrough requirement in place.
As for the PlayMGM poker room, new players have a $10 no-deposit free-play and $15 in free tournament dollars at their disposal. Upon depositing for the first time, the same 100% match bonus with a $2,000 cap applies.
Preliminary plans for PlayMGM called for cross-branding with the company’s land-based properties. Accordingly, players can enter a weekly sweepstakes for a chance to win a three-night stay at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. This promotion also includes a choice of $1,000 in spending cash or $1,500 in funds deposited to the player’s online account.
Based on the latest revenue reports released by the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (NJDGE), the launch of PlayMGM may provide a badly needed boost for the Borgata’s group of established iGaming licensees.
Combined revenue for PartyPoker, Borgata Poker, and Pala Poker totaled $585,970 for the month of June, ahead of the Caesars-licensed WSOP.com and 888 Poker brands ($470,027), but well behind the Resorts AC-licensed PokerStars platform ($679,637).
In terms of casino revenue, the Borgata licensees fared worse, generating $3,301,270 to finish third in a five-way race. Tropicana / Virgin ($3,479,393) narrowly beat Borgata out, but the Golden Nugget / Betfair ($5,576,526) sites continued to dominate the casino sector.
Those figures represent a role reversal for the Borgata’s iGaming licensees, which combined to capture much of New Jersey’s early market share following legalization in 2013.
The launch of PokerStars.nj in March of last year effectively ended the Borgata / PartyPoker reign, and the Golden Nugget online casino has outpaced all competitors since adding Live Dealer play last August.