MGM Resorts International has selected Scott Butera to oversee its interactive gaming operations. Butera will mostly focus on the company’s expansion of sports betting operations into new markets.
Interactive gaming includes sports betting and other games that rely primarily on skill. However, Butera’s hire is a direct result of the US Supreme Court’s repeal of the nationwide ban on sports betting.
The ban, which came under the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA), was overturned by a definitive 6-3 vote by the nine Supreme Court justices. The repeal opened the door for sports betting in any state that creates a legal framework for it.
MGM wants to be at the forefront of the expansion. To that end, its Borgata property became the first Atlantic City casino to offer sports betting to New Jersey residents when the sportsbook opened on June 15.
Butera is eminently qualified for the job
Butera comes to the job after a four-year stint as commissioner of the Arena Football League. He sports a masters in business administration from NYU’s Stern School of Business and 20 years of experience as an investment banker.
Notably, he also served in C-level positions at Tropicana Resorts and Foxwoods Resort Casino from 2008 to 2013. At Foxwoods, he served as CEO before his appointment to the AFL commissionership.
He also helped Tropicana emerge from Chapter 11 bankruptcy during his time. With experience in fluid situations specific to the hospitality industry, he should be very successful in his new role.
Butera is likely the first of many similar hires
The company is also in the process of buying a racetrack in New York. All of these states either offer sports betting or are moving that direction. Additionally, we reported last week that both MGM and Caesars were staffing up for their Mississippi sports books. Projections suggest those could be open by the end of the summer.
MGM’s hiring of Butera is likely the first of many experts to manage the growing sports betting market. Casino and hospitality companies are all anticipating a major new source of revenue.
According to research firm Eilers and Krejcik Gaming, sports betting revenue will grow to over $6 billion annually by 2023. No company in the gaming space can afford to overlook a piece of that pie.
For MGM, its sports betting handle, or total amount of wagers, exceeds $1 billion in Nevada alone. The novelty and new availability in other states should generate wagering that far exceeds that figure.
So, it’s no surprise that MGM hired someone to steer the ship. Look for other players in the market to find their own captains soon.
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