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The Possibilities Of Exclusive BetMGM Online Casino Games Are Endless

Written By Marc Meltzer | Updated:
MGM Grand Hotel & Casino Marquee In Las Vegas

Much like their land-based counterparts, online casinos have to offer different games and promotions to stand out. A US online casino can stand out from the pack in numerous ways.

One of the great points of differentiation for online casinos with land-based properties is to marry the two. BetMGM is doing that in a few ways with eyes open toward new ideas.

PlayUSA chatted with Oliver Bartlett, vice president of gaming product and content for BetMGM. Bartlett said BetMGM has the “largest library of exclusive content” of any online casino.

He said these are games players won’t find at any other online casino. Many of the exclusive games feature MGM Resorts’ casinos in Las Vegas. That’s a focus for the company at the moment.

Bartlett discussed with PlayUSA existing exclusive games and the possibilities of new ideas for BetMGM. Topics from an online/offline Wheel of Fortune Progressive jackpot to incorporating popular restaurants from Las Vegas into online slot games.

Like most things in casino life, the discussion started around Las Vegas.

Vice President of Gaming Product And Content BetMGM Oliver Bartlett
Vice President of Gaming Product And Content, BetMGM Oliver Bartlett

BetMGM brings the Las Vegas experience to the people

BetMGM Casino is one of the few online casino operators with multiple brick-and-mortar casinos in Las Vegas. The city is more than just about hitting the gaming floor today but that’s the epicenter of all casinos.

Not only does BetMGM want to bring Las Vegas to players, but it would also like visitors to check out the resorts they find in the online casino.

BetMGM has no less than 15 online casino games that feature its Las Vegas casinos. Excalibur and Luxor slots are the most recent resorts to be featured in the online casino.

Bartlett says BetMGM takes a different approach to branding online casino games than others. He says many existing branded games are just logos placed on existing games.

That’s not the case with BetMGM games. Players can tell when the game is just using a logo.

Bartlett says BetMGM “creates games around the brand.” When discussing the Luxor Fortunes game, created by Light & Wonder (NASDAQ: LNW) and based on 88 Fortunes, which is one of the most popular casino games, he says:

“We revolutionized it and bought that into the 21st century. It’s undeniably a Luxor-branded game. It’s more than just a pyramid logo on an existing game icon. The process is long and in-depth and goes through a lot of stages of inspiration”

BetMGM uses its online game designers, manufacturer design teams, and the slot team from MGM Resorts’ land-based properties. This allows the company to create games not only for existing online slot players but also for those who might only play at land-based casinos today. They might play at an online casino at home for the first time.

BetMGM's New Exclusive Online Slot Luxor Fortunes
BetMGM’s new exclusive online slot Luxor Fortunes

While BetMGM brings the Vegas Strip to players’ homes in states with legal online casinos, hopefully, they’ll remember these experiences when visiting Las Vegas.

During the chat, Barlettt touched on the Bellagio-themed game. He said the hope is that players will enjoy the online slot so much that they visit Bellagio instead of one of the handful of casinos next door and across the street.

MGM Resorts (NYSE: MGM) only owns one neighboring casino, The Cosmopolitan. Planet Hollywood, Paris, Horseshoe, The Cromwell, and Caesars Palace are all owned by Caesars and located across from Bellagio.

Seeing the Bellagio name on an online slot game at home could influence a player to visit that casino instead of the neighboring casinos. At least that’s one thing the company hopes for when creating Las Vegas casino-themed online slot games.

Creating a holistic experience online and in casinos

There was a lot of gaming industry talk about the word “omnichannel” at the 2023 Global Gaming Expo. When it comes to gaming omnichannel is connecting land-based casinos with online real money and free social games.

A few months before the expo, BetMGM and IGT introduced the first online progressive slot machine jackpot in New Jersey. Players will find the same Wheel Of Fortune progressive jackpots at BetMGM online and on the Borgata casino floor.

This might have been the first but it won’t be the last time the two entities meet. Casinos with both land-based and online casinos will continue to explore merging the two.

Bartlett says it’s “inevitable” that online casino games will make their way into land-based casinos in the future. However, there are a few things in the way.

There will likely be more partnerships like the Wheel of Fortune progressive before there’s a BetMGM slot machine on casino floors. Bartlett says:

“Land-based games thrive on widespread distribution, so if Light & Wonder or Aristocrat are building a machine and cabinet they have to sell thousands of them to break even…Is there enough margin to put them only in 21 really popular (MGM) casinos across the US? I’d guess not.”

The economics make sense. Margins for an exclusive BetMGM-only slot machine with different online casino games might happen in the future if and when it’s easier and less expensive to make a physical machine.

He says “I’d love it and ultimately it’s going to happen” but the margins will have to work for all parties.

Back to branding online slots

Marketing is most fun when the possibilities aren’t limited. That’s one of the fun parts of marketing online casino games.

Game designers can get creative with brands such as Excalibur. Theming might be a dying trend in Las Vegas casinos today but the old themes allow a creative team a lot of options for online casino games.

Bartlett notes that the “heritage and success of a Vegas Strip casino does not correlate to success for an online game.” The Excalibur experience might be better online than when visiting the physical casino.

BetMGM's Exclusive Online Slot Excalibur
BetMGM’s exclusive online slot Excalibur

The company is always looking for new opportunities for the brands. I mentioned possibly including some restaurant or retail partners in a game.

BetMGM recently signed a deal with Play N Go for games in PA. Since the company has many music-themed slot games Bartlett was asked if a partnership with a Las Vegas resident artist like Bruno Mars or Lady Gaga might be possible. He says:

“It’s never been done before is not an excuse for not trying something when it comes to IP (intellectual property)…and nothing is off the table.”

There’s little more to a marketing person’s ears than “nothing is off the table.” Marketers hear that statement as “anything is possible!” Having said that, the more parties involved make creating a game with multiple brands more difficult … but not impossible.

Could a Carbone bonus inside of an Aria-themed slot or a Park MGM game featuring music of the current artists performing at the Las Vegas casino be possibilities?

Similarly, the company could connect regional casinos with local themes that might be popular for those who live in Detroit, MI, or Springfield, MA.

See, anything is possible.

What’s next for BetMGM Casino?

Bartlett wasn’t keen on sharing specifics on what BetMGM players might see next. He did say to look for more “very exciting” exclusive sports, TV, and film-related content.

Pressed for more information, all he would divulge is that there will not be a BetMGM pickleball game coming soon.

Bartlett said BetMGM is looking at some emerging games in Europe in the future. Some of these could make their way to the US sooner than later but he wouldn’t say for sure.

According to Bartlett, BetMGM releases 100 games per week across five websites. Never say never because it doesn’t seem like there are many limits to what the company can create.

Photo by AP Photo/Joe Cavaretta
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Written by
Marc Meltzer

Marc grew up on the mean streets of the South Bronx. He's the rare combination of Yankees and Jets fan which explains his often contrarian point of view. Marc is a freelance writer and social media consultant. Writing about steak, booze, gambling and Las Vegas is a tough job but somebody has to do it.

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