Over the weekend, MGM Resorts made a pair of power plays putting the company in prime position to capitalize on a new era of sports betting legalization in America.
In a press release issued on July 29, MGM Resorts and GVC Holdings announced the creation of a 50/50 joint venture designed to create a “world-class sports betting and online gaming platform in the United States.”
Based in the Isle of Man, GVC Holdings is a sprawling iGaming conglomerate and parent company of major European sportsbooks like Ladbrokes / Coral and SportingBet. GVC Holdings is also the parent company of bWin / PartyPoker, the world’s second-largest regulated online poker room.
Following an initial investment of $100 million each, MGM and GVC will set their sights on emerging markets in states where sports betting and online gambling are newly legalized. The companies already operate in conjunction through the PartyPoker NJ platform in New Jersey, which operates under the MGM-owned Borgata’s iGaming license.
In addition to its centerpiece MGM Grand venue, MGM Resorts also owns 12 casino properties in Las Vegas. Outside of Sin City, the company operates casinos in Michigan and Mississippi, where sports betting has already been legalized following the repeal of the 26-year old federal ban in May.
Jim Murren – who serves as chairman and chief executive officer for MGM Resorts – offered the following take on the GVC partnership:
“With MGM Resorts’ expertise and leading position in key markets across the U.S., this historic partnership will be positioned to become the instant leader in technology, market access, sports relationships and brands.
We are excited to benefit from GVC’s proprietary, best-in-class technology, digital customer acquisition expertise, and experience with adapting to new operating environments.
GVC is unusually qualified due to their existing operations in the U.S.”
His counterpart at GVC, Kenneth Alexander, added the following statement:
“MGM Resorts is a world leading entertainment business and the most trusted name in gaming, with the highest quality brands and management, and strong sports connectivity.
This combined with GVC’s technology and experience in successfully building online gaming businesses across multiple markets presents a truly exciting opportunity for U.S. players and our respective shareholders.”
Per the press release, MGM and GVC will look to move on both brick and mortar and online sportsbooks, along with all forms of iGaming, via their respective brands:
“The new venture will have exclusive access to all U.S. 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 – facilitating entry into multiple digital gaming verticals under the playMGM and partypoker headline brands.”
On the same day as the GVC deal went public, MGM made more headlines by announcing a partnership with Las Vegas-based casino operator Boyd Gaming.
As former co-owners of the Borgata in Atlantic City, MGM and Boyd have history together, and their new deal is designed to extend the reach of both companies during the expected wave of sports betting and iGaming regulation to come.
The press release announcing the deal described MGM and Boyd’s new marriage as follows:
“Under this partnership, MGM Resorts and Boyd Gaming will both have the opportunity to offer online and mobile gaming platforms – including sports betting, casino gaming and poker – in jurisdictions where either Boyd Gaming or MGM Resorts operate physical casino resorts and online licenses are available.”
In addition to Nevada and New Jersey, the combined MGM / Boyd endeavor has access to 13 states where either company operates a casino. That list includes Pennsylvania – which moved to legalize sports betting and iGaming last year – along with states like New York, Illinois, and Massachusetts, all of which have floated similar legislation in the past.