BetMGM has high hopes after slow start in New Jersey

MGM COO Bill Hornbuckle recently stated that Roar Digital, the joint venture between MGM Resorts and GVC that powers BetMGM, is doing better now than it did when it launched back in 2018.

“Candidly, our GVC venture with Roar went off to a slow start in New Jersey with two mega-companies trying to put themselves together,” Hornbuckle said.

“We’ve effectively done that. We now have 150 men and women working in New Jersey every day to push this forward. And I think we’re in a much better place than a year ago.”

PlayMGM launched in the late summer of 2018 as the second New Jersey sports betting app after DraftKings Sportsbook. The following summer, the platform was rebranded as BetMGM.

Results have not met the expectations of the company so far. Kenny Alexander, CEO of GVC, said in October of 2019 that by March 2020 he expected to see 10%-15% of the New Jersey market share. The firm fell well short of that mark in January with a revenue stream of $53.6 million, which is only 5.9% of the state total.

Hornbuckle said that by the end of 2020 BetMGM should be live in eight states. The firm now has mobile sportsbooks in New Jersey and West Virginia, an update BetMGM platform is expected to launch in Nevada by next week. The company also has retail sports betting operations in Mississippi.

MGM has access to 16 states through its casinos and its market-access agreement with Boyd Gaming. The firm has a pending launch application in the state of Indiana after receiving an operating license in January of this year. Hornbuckle said that MGM has its eyes on six states that are pushing to legalize sports betting.

MGM has a strong presence in Michigan. The company operates the Greektown Casino in Detroit and has a deal with Buffalo Wild Wings, which has 27 locations throughout the state. Hornbuckle also touched on MGM’s deal with Yahoo Sports, saying it is “just unwinding and launching” while adding that around seven million people use the Yahoo fantasy sports product.

The updated BetMGM platform in New Jersey is starting to show positive results. Hornbuckle said that since June of 2019, player growth has increased over 126%. BetMGM New Jersey had gaming revenue of more than $100 million for the 2019 calendar year. The company did well for the Super Bowl, with Hornbuckle claiming that eight of the biggest wagers on the game in the United States were made at BetMGM’s land-based sportsbooks.

There has been a lot of talk on the topic of whether sports wagering can be a successful standalone business or if it is just an additive amenity. Hornbuckle believes that it is a legitimate business and can be profitable by 2023 to 2025. About $100 million has been invested by both MGM and GVC. Hornbuckle said it costs around $2 million for the company to launch its product in a state and he expects investment figures to the tune of $30 million in each of the next two years. He added that BetMGM would control 15% of the sports wagering market in the US.

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