MGM Resorts International bought out long-time partner Boyd Gaming Corporation’s interest in the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa last August and immediately expressed interest in launching an MGM online poker site and online casino in New Jersey.
At the time, former Senior Vice President of Business Development Tom Mikulich told the press MGM was “indeed interested in the online opportunities out East and are hopeful to launch our MGM Resorts brand out there in the near future.”
Mikulich did not say when MGM would go online in New Jersey, but did express an interest in both poker and casino sites.
Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa already holds a license from the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement to operate poker and casino sites inside the state. The company currently hosts five sites under the license:
- Borgata Casino
- Borgata Poker
- Pala Casino
- Pala Bingo
Combined, these sites are the market leader in the local internet gaming industry. Together, the sites posted more than $47 million in gross internet gaming revenues in 2016. Adding a worldwide brand name like MGM to its online offerings in New Jersey should only serve to strengthen Borgata’s stranglehold on the NJ online gaming market.
It’s unlikely an MGM-branded online casino and poker site in New Jersey will simply mirror Borgata’s offerings. The other brands operating under Borgata’s license offer completely different products.
The differences should extend to promotions and online casino bonuses in New Jersey as well if MGM wants to grab any kind of share in the maturing market. The MGM brand alone can draw players, but competitive promotions and bonuses can help MGM go beyond its initial reach.
Look for MGM to increase limits on first deposit bonuses or offer even more in free casino chips to prospective customers in an attempt to hit the ground running.
MGM online casino NJ promotions and rewards
In addition to offering extensive bonuses and promotions to try and grab some market share right out of the gate, MGM online casino NJ will likely include some connection to its existing M Life Rewards program, already available at all of MGM’s brick and mortar casino properties.
MGM’s M Life Rewards program is free to join and offers the opportunity to earn reward points redeemable for hotel, dining, entertainment, and gaming activity at any one of 16 MGM Resorts International destinations across the US.
M Life Rewards members enjoy exclusive MGM experiences, discounts, offers, and benefits, and MGM online casino NJ is expected to allow online players the chance to continue earning these rewards with online casino play.
M Life members earn rewards for every dollar they spend at MGM properties and this should continue at the MGM online casino NJ. In fact, MGM online casino NJ is expected to include a seamless transition for M Life Rewards members playing online and off.
Online casino and poker players should be able to earn comps, point play, and free play redeemable online or at MGM Resorts International hotels, dining outlets, or entertainment venues the same way they currently can at the organization’s brick and mortar casinos.
MGM online casino software
Expect MGM to offer comprehensive online casino and poker clients that are easy to navigate, pleasing to the eye, and offer a number of value-added features for players.
A no-download browser-based interface should be available for all PC and Mac users across all browsers, including Safari, Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, and Internet Explorer.
Players will be expected to install a geolocation plug-in to make sure the site can tell they are inside New Jersey state borders when they play.
If MGM wants to compete in the Atlantic City online casino market right out of the gate, it will need to offer one of the largest libraries of online casino content and games on the market.
High-quality NJ online casino sites are built on the backs of great software. Most New Jersey online casino sites have entered third-party partnerships with online gaming solutions providers allowing them to offer a wide variety of games and casino content.
MGM may want to consider aligning with online gaming software partners who have already established themselves in the New Jersey market.
- High 5 Games
- Scientific Games Corporation
- 888 Holdings
- GVC (bwin.party)
Games at MGM online casino
MGM video poker
MGM will need to offer a comprehensive selection of video poker games. Some New Jersey online casino platforms offer as many as 20 titles. At the very least, MGM will need to offer a selection of basic video poker titles, including:
- Double Bonus Poker
- Double Double Bonus Poker
- Deuces Wild
- Jacks or Better
- Bonus Poker
Blackjack at MGM online casino
MGM will need to offer a large assortment of blackjack games. Some New Jersey online casino platforms offer as many as a dozen different blackjack titles. At the very least, MGM will need to offer a selection of basic blackjack titles, including:
- Single Deck Blackjack
- Multihand Blackjack
- Atlantic City Blackjack
MGM online casino slots
Some NJ online casinos offer hundreds of different online slots. MGM will need to do the same.
Penny slots, progressive jackpot slots, and popular branded slots are a must. Expect to see MGM roll out some of the most popular slots on the market from launch, including:
- Jimi Hendrix
- Michael Jackson: King of Pop
- Guns n’ Roses
- Iron Man 2
- Deal or No Deal
- Super Monopoly Money
MGM will likely want to offer a comprehensive casino and gaming experience with its online platform. That means a vast selection of casino games one might find in both a typical online and land-based casino.
MGM may consider offering an online poker client, live dealer games, and will almost definitely include online versions of the following popular casino games:
MGM mobile casino app
Any MGM mobile gaming application will need to be downloadable through the main casino site on a smartphone or tablet. Users should be able to access the app through a conveniently located “Install Now” icon.
The app should also be available through the Android app store and on iTunes for iOS users.
The goal for any MGM mobile app should be for it to come as close to replicating the desktop experience as possible.
If there’s hope for grabbing share in the increasingly competitive NJ online casino market, it lies in mobile gaming. Most of the existing NJ online gambling mobile applications provide only a watered-down version of what is available for desktop users.
If MGM can focus its efforts on featuring a mobile gaming experience that comes close to what desktop users find, it can gain a leg up in the market immediately.
An easy-to-navigate layout, filled with value-added features, and easily operating account management options are imperative. Plus, most, if not all, of the game library players find on the desktop should be available on the mobile app.
This is where MGM has the opportunity to separate itself from other competitors in the NJ online casino market. Most mobile apps only include a small percentage of the games available on a desktop. Creating a mobile version of the casino software that’s filled with 200 or more games could give MGM a winning mobile casino product.
A number of different slots, blackjack, table games, and video poker variants need to be available on the mobile app.
The software should also run smoothly with almost no disconnects.
If MGM sets the bar high enough with its mobile app, it is likely to find a fast inroad into the already-established NJ online casino market.
An MGM online gambling site should be ready to accept:
- Prepaid cards
- Electronic checks
- Bank wire
- Cash at the TEN cage
Players should be able to receive winnings from the MGM online casino the same way they deposited money. This will likely include electronic check, wire transfer, check, Neteller, PayPal, and cash at the casino cage in Atlantic City.
It is almost a requirement for NJ online casinos to offer around-the-clock support across different avenues, including:
- Live chat
- Phone support
- Email support
MGM online casino customer service teams will need to be responsive, friendly, and knowledgeable.