It’s obvious that MGM Resorts International and its Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa have some big plans for the NJ sports betting market.
Borgata actually became the first Atlantic City casino to launch sports betting operations on June 14.
The Borgata Race & Sports Book
It started taking bets at its Borgata Race & Sports Book, the re-branded Borgata Race Book off-track horse racing betting facility, just hours after the New Jersey sports betting market officially launched.
The first legal bets in the state were actually placed inside the Monmouth Park Sports Book by William Hill at the Oceanport racetrack earlier that day.
Hall of Fame basketball player and Philadelphia 76ers legend Julius Erving placed the first bet at Borgata sportsbook. He bet $5 on the NFL’s Philadelphia Eagles to repeat as Super Bowl champs.
At the time, Borgata officials said the casino was uniquely prepared to begin sports betting operations quickly because it was the only Atlantic City casino with an existing race book. However, it also said plans for significant additions to complement the new Borgata sportsbook facility were in final stages of design.
Plus, details and a timeline for the Borgata Race & Sports Book enhancements would be announced in the coming weeks.
In fact, at the Sports Betting USA Conference in New York City in November 2017, Jay Rood, VP of Race and Sports at MGM Resorts International made mention of Borgata building a $7 million sportsbook on the property, anticipating the coming change in the law.
MGM and the NBA
Next up for MGM came a July 31, 2018, announcement it had inked a new multi-year deal with the NBA to become the official gaming partner of both the NBA and WNBA.
More than just an advertising and marketing deal, both sides expect it to be an innovative collaboration presenting exciting opportunities to engage with each other’s brands and products.
MGM Resorts already owns the WNBA’s Las Vegas Aces and has been the title sponsor of the MGM Resorts NBA Summer League in Las Vegas for the past two years.
Now, this deal marks the casino gaming and hospitality giant’s first with a major pro sports league and the NBA’s first ever partnership with a sports betting operator.
As a part of the agreement, the Borgata sportsbook, MGM Resorts’ Las Vegas sportsbooks, and its Nevada playMGM mobile sports betting app will now use official NBA and WNBA data and branding.
The companies will also get together in an effort to protect the integrity of NBA and WNBA games through real-time data sharing. Plus, there are plans to create a variety of digital content together in addition to cross-promotion.
Earlier in the week, MGM also announced it had struck a deal with Boyd Gaming Corporation. This agreement will see the pair take its online gambling and sports betting products nationwide.
PlayMGM mobile sports betting
At the NBA announcement, CEO Jim Murren also hinted at plans for NJ mobile sports betting. In fact, he indicated MGM would be launching its playMGM sports betting app in the state by the end of that week.
The end of the week came and went without another word on mobile sports betting from MGM. No mobile sports betting products launched. However, Murren and MGM did put the rest of the industry on notice. It essentially said it is poised to begin dominating all facets of US and NJ sports betting.
MGM’s Nevada-based playMGM mobile sports betting app operates on an IGT software platform. It has proved popular in that market. Therefore, all signs point to MGM launching a version of the same app in New Jersey.
Borgata sportsbook offers odds set by MGM’s Las Vegas sports betting operations, making it as close to a traditional Las Vegas sportsbook as one can find in Atlantic City. Like its Nevada playMGM app does, the New Jersey app is expected to offer the same odds.
MGM is on the move
MGM did not get its mobile app to market first in New Jersey. DraftKings Sportsbook surprised the entire industry when it launhced its mobile sports betting product at the beginning of August. However, as Murren said at the NBA press conference, MGM has a plan to gain market share.
It isn’t about being first. Instead, it’s about MGM’s undying belief that gaming customers, old and new, gravitate toward integrity, trust, and branding. Those are three areas where MGM also believes it has a distinct edge over the competition.