MGM Resorts Sees NBA Partnership as a Path to Sports Betting Dominance
MGM Resorts (NYSE: MGM) is trying to become the go-to place for sports betting -- and not only in Las Vegas, but nationwide. A recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling opened up sports betting across the country, and that in turn has created opportunities for online betting and in-person wagers on games across the country.
The biggest move announced this week was a partnership with the NBA that will allow MGM to use the league's data and images in its wagering. It's possible that this will become a relationship that gives MGM a big lead in sports betting nationwide.
Laying the groundwork for sports betting
Before it could make its play to become a sports betting powerhouse , MGM needed to fill some gaps in its business. One key move was to expand the number of jurisdictions where it could offer sports betting, which it did with a partnership with Boyd Gaming Corporation (NYSE: BYD) that allows betting where either company has a gaming presence.
MGM says the deal with Boyd creates a path to offering online and mobile sports betting in 15 states. But that was just the start of its strategic moves.
MGM also launched a 50/50 joint venture with GVC Holdings PLC to "create a world-class sports betting and online gaming platform in the United States." This will allow dynamic sports betting on games like professional basketball across the country.
MGM lands a big NBA deal
The Boyd and GVC deals were really precursors to a partnership with the NBA and WNBA, which was announced Tuesday. Here was a key line from the press release announcing the deal:
As part of the partnership, MGM Resorts will use official NBA and WNBA data and branding, on a non-exclusive basis, across MGM Resorts' land-based and digital sports betting offerings throughout the United States.
Data may not sound like a big deal in this partnership, but MGM will be able to expand betting options with access to this data. Customers can bet on things like the shooting percentage of a player, points in a quarter, assists, number of passes in a game, and a multitude of other items. Expanding the number and type of bets players can make and bringing them to regional and mobile platforms will give MGM Resorts a huge leg up in sports betting.
NBA and WNBA branding will also make the MGM betting platforms look more official for players. That could be a differentiator for MGM in competitive markets like Las Vegas, where small differentiations can be meaningful.
One critique of the partnership is that it's non-exclusive and will provide a template for competitors like Caesars Entertainment and Penn National Gaming to sign similar partnerships. Getting to the NBA first is good, but may not be a lasting differentiation for MGM Resorts if it doesn't gather a critical mass of sports betting customers quickly.
MGM wants to be a sports betting giant
The three partnerships announced this week lay the groundwork for MGM Resorts to become a big sports betting business. Not only will it be big in Las Vegas, but it could also be a favorite for mobile betting given its large geographic reach and partnership with Boyd Gaming. If anyone is going to be a big player in sports betting, MGM Resorts is as good a bet as any.
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