MGM Sets Its Sights On New Jersey Online Gambling

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Borgata Casino and Water Club Hotel
Apparently MGM knows a good thing when they see it.

The gaming giant has taken an up close and personal look at the New Jersey gaming market over the past year. As a result, it is diving right into its fastest growing segment: online casinos.

In May 2016, MGM Resorts spent about $900 million buying out partner Boyd Gaming Corporation‘s 50 percent interest in Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa. It spent the past year operating Atlantic City’s top-grossing casino property all on its own. And now, this week, the company announced it will be jumping in New Jersey’s online casino and poker business sometime later this year.

New Jersey online casinos thriving

The New Jersey online gaming market launched in November 2013. It has seen steady growth ever since. In fact, in 2016, New Jersey’s online casino and poker sites posted a $196.7 million internet gaming win. The industry helped turn around a decade of declines in the Atlantic City casino business overall.

Atlantic City’s brick and mortar casinos posted a total gaming win of $2.406 billion in 2016. The numbers were actually down 0.3 percent from $2.414 billion in 2015. However, a 32.1 percent increase in internet gaming revenue helped push the total industry win up to $2.603 billion. This represented a 1.5 percent jump over 2015, and the first increase for the industry in ten years.

Now, after four more months in the black in 2017, MGM wants in. The company will be partnering with GVC Holdings, Borgata’s online casino and poker software provider, to launch its own online casino and poker sites sometime in 2017.

It’s all about the MGM brand

Through its interest in Borgata, MGM has actually been in the New Jersey online casino business from the beginning.

The difference now is it’s going to launch sites under its own playMGM brand.

MGM will offer desktop and mobile variants. There will be over 300 casino games, progressive jackpot slots, and both tournament and cash game poker.

From the sounds of it, MGM wants to give online market leader Golden Nugget a run for its money. If anyone can do it, it’s MGM.

The plan is to connect the online casino and poker sites to MGM Resorts’ M life rewards program. This means online players in New Jersey will be able to earn benefits they can redeem at any one of MGM’s 15 resort destinations around the United States. This will give them a clear leg up on Golden Nugget, which currently offers two separate rewards programs for live and online players.

Borgata once led the local online gaming industry, but Golden Nugget’s commitment to go big or go home moved it into the revenue lead. Few do big better than MGM, and if that’s what it takes to take back the industry lead, it appears MGM is willing to do it.

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Giving NJ online casino market a boost

The company has yet to set a launch date for the playMGM online casino and poker sites. But no matter when they come online, they’re likely to give an already surging online gaming market in New Jersey a healthy boost.

There is little doubt New Jersey’s online gambling success story will continue through this latest chapter. Of course, that is if the federal government doesn’t come in and spoil the party with a federal online gambling mandate banning the endeavor.

Now, if a few neighboring states like New York and Pennsylvania can get around to following New Jersey’s lead, the iGaming industry across the US could get even stronger. That would certainly make it more difficult for the Feds, or any anti-online gambling zealots attempting to influence them, to do anything to stop it.

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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