MGM And Boyd Are Poised To Take Over Sports Betting, But Where Will They Start?

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It looks like this latest deal between MGM Resorts International and Boyd Gaming Corporation will have major ramifications on the emerging US online gambling and mobile sports betting industries.

It clearly creates a major player in the sector. Plus, it gives the lobby for online gambling and sports betting in states that don’t have it some significant strength.

The deal has the pair partnering to enter the online and mobile gaming business with full force, including online and mobile sports betting, online casino gaming, and online poker.

The two companies plan to first target states where either one operates a physical casino resort and online licenses are currently available.

First, we take Pennsylvania

That would mean its sights are firmly set on Pennsylvania right now, a state that legalized online gambling and sports betting in October 2017 and invited existing casino license holders to apply for licenses to operate both in the spring of this year.

MGM’s plans to buy Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem from fellow casino and gaming giant Las Vegas Sands fell through a year ago, leaving it without a physical casino resort in the Keystone State. However, Boyd has one, having bought the Valley Forge Casino Resort just outside Philadelphia in December 2017 for a reported $280 million.

MGM and Boyd are already online in Nevada. Both run mobile sports betting apps there. MGM is also online in New Jersey. It runs various playMGM and Borgata-branded poker and casinos sites. Of course, the companies were previously partners on those Borgata-branded sites, before Boyd sold it’s 50 percent interest in Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa to partner MGM in 2016.

Effective Aug. 1, the companies will be in Mississippi as well. MGM’s two properties there will be the first casinos to offer sports betting in the state.

However, where MGM and Boyd will go next isn’t exactly clear. As it said, it’s eyeing various states where it has a casino and online licenses are available. That puts a handful of states in play that have the legal framework for mobile sports betting either in place, or ready to go, including:

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Creating a powerful online gambling and sports betting lobby

But even beyond those states, this latest MGM-Boyd deal has created a rather powerful entity. One that could successfully lobby for online gambling and sports betting legislation all across the US.

In addition to all states mentioned above, MGM also has properties in Illinois, Michigan, and Maryland. Plus, it will open up MGM Springfield in Massachusetts on Aug. 24.

Boyd Gaming also opens up the doors to states including:

Once MGM Springfield opens, MGM and Boyd say combined, the two will operate gaming facilities in 15 states.

Wielding the power and influence

How long will it be before they start wielding the considerable power and influence they enjoy? How long until they convince lawmakers that online gambling and sports betting is good for all involved?

If the pair can successfully push for online gambling and sports betting legislation here, both will come out big winners. Particularly if the markets are anywhere near the size MGM and Boyd hope they are.

But so will the average American gambler. Widespread legal online gambling and sports wagering are good for anyone that wants the freedom to make a bet. Particularly those who don’t want to have to drive 200 miles or more to do it.

Americans love freedom. This MGM-Boyd deal only serves to strengthen the gambling lobby in this country. In turn, it should bring widespread legal online gambling, sports betting, and indeed freedom, closer to reality.

Martin Derbyshire

About

Martin Derbyshire has more than ten years of experience reporting on the poker, online gambling, and land-based casino industries for a variety of publications including Bluff Magazine, PokerNews, and PokerListings. He has traveled extensively, attending tournaments and interviewing major players in the gambling world.

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