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Gambling News Flash: DraftKings Drama, Takeover Deals & Sports Betting to Wrigley Field?

August 16, 2021
DraftKings under fire for SBTech deal

This week’s casino news starts off with sports betting giant DraftKings, who is under federal investigation. While the headline might sound daunting, the news isn’t as major as most would have you believe.

DraftKings Under Federal Investigation For SBTech Deal

DraftKings has found themselves in the hot seat as they are currently under federal investigation over their purchase of SBTech, a Bulgarian sports betting provider. There are alleged violations of the Securities Exchange Act regarding DraftKings’ purchase of SBTech, as first reported by Hindenburg Research.

One DraftKings spokesperson doesn’t seem to be too worried about the allegations though, saying:

“It is not uncommon for the SEC to investigate allegations. The SEC inquiry does not suggest any wrongdoing or agreement with the short-seller allegations, and we intend to cooperate with the SEC inquiry.”

There is no doubt that the company has plans to stand up for themselves. And they seem to believe they won’t be severely damaged by this investigation.

DraftKings also has some issues regarding tax challenges as the Internal Revenue Service is auditing the sports betting giant over taxes paid in years past. Apparently, the issues are focused on taxation of fantasy sports contests. If they find that the numbers don’t add up, DraftKings could be forced to pay a sizable penalty.

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Betting Giants Unveiling Growth Amid Takeover Speculation

A couple of United States gambling giants just released their growth numbers amid takeover deals speculation. Flutter and Entain showed six exceptional months of growth, which could put them into position for a takeover deal in the future. After all, aren’t takeovers the hottest thing in the sports betting space these days?

Entain has been watching their value increase steadily over the past couple of months ever since MGM Resorts has been rumored to buy them. MGM had a multi-billion dollar deal almost finished up before things broke down in the end. There are some insiders who believe the two sides are still negotiating.

With restrictions around the United States slowly easing, players in the online gambling market have been able to expand pretty quickly. We could see online gambling expand even further in the coming months to several additional states.

Sports Betting Outpost Coming To Wrigley Field?

The Chicago Cubs have finally gotten themselves one step closer to allowing sports betting at their home stadium. This past week, the City Council committee approved their request to construct a 22,450 square foot structure. The location is Addison Street and Sheffield Avenue. It is going to be a two-story building located adjacent to their stadium and early estimations expect construction to take at least a year to be fully built. Customers will be able to pop in there and bet on sports if they want to get in on the action.

This new idea likely stems from their newfound partnership with DraftKings, a deal that was struck back in 2020. They came to the decision that they wanted to partner up for an official sportsbook. If it pans out, this sportsbook will be the first located at a professional sports stadium in the US.

They aren’t out of the woods completely yet, though. They still need approval from the full City Council along with the National Park Service and the Illinois Gaming Board. However, after a unanimous decision from the first committee, things are looking good. The Cubs said that this sportsbook will be a terrific way for them to connect with their fans.

Lead image credit: AP Photo/Charles Krupa

New York Jets Snag Two Gambling Partnerships With MGM And 888 Casino

November 9, 2018
new york jets

MGM Resorts International has agreed to terms on a partnership with the NFL’s New York Jets to promote its PlayMGM NJ gambling website platforms and mobile apps as well as its casino locations.

The multi-year deal makes MGM Resorts the official gaming partner of the Jets. The agreement is the first of its kind and the most in-depth gaming partnership yet in the NFL.

Jets fans will now have access to a predictive mobile game on the Official New York Jets App. MGM Resorts will also sponsor and have access to the Jets 360 Production Studio at Atlantic Health Jets Training Center.

The Play MGM Studio will be the multimedia home for all Jets 360 content.

The NFL and legal sports betting

By creating this partnership, the New York Jets are helping bridge the gap between the NFL and legal New Jersey sports betting. The league only recently began to allow any type of sponsorship agreements between teams and casinos.

Both Jets President Neil Glat and MGM Resorts Chairman and CEO Jim Murren are very optimistic about this brave new world.

“We could not be more excited to join with the New York Jets for a first-of-its-kind partnership in the NFL,” said Murren. “We look forward to working with the Jets to innovate gaming, increase our customer base through cross marketing opportunities and provide NFL fans with a one-of-a-kind entertainment experience.”

Of course, the NFL still prohibits any mention or promotion of sports betting. The partnership with MGM is purely for online gambling and not specifically sports betting.

Jet up

MGM Resorts will now be marketing with the Jets through signs at MetLife Stadium, along with social and digital advertisements for Jets TV and radio broadcasts.

Jets season ticket holders and rewards members will reap some of the benefits of this new deal. These will include first-class entertainment experiences and luxury rooms at its Borgata property in Atlantic City and other MGM properties in the US.

“We are proud to partner with an iconic brand like MGM Resorts and its renowned properties to bring a world-class gaming and entertainment experience to our fans,” said Glat. “This unique partnership also enables us to further engage our fans in the mobile and digital world.”

Part of this mobile expansion and interaction is based around the Jets’ “I Called It” game. The improved version will now consist of pre-play options, enhanced in-play features, more prizes, and larger leaderboards featuring Jets fans.

888 Casino and beyond

On top of the collaboration with MGM Resorts, the Jets have reportedly gotten a new sponsor from NJ online casino 888 Casino.

It’s the first time an NFL team has conducted any business with an online gambling company. Although the deal doesn’t technically sponsor the sports wagering side of 888 Casino, 888 Sportsbook is located on the same website right next to the casino and 888 Poker.

With these strategic moves, the Jets will more than likely set the trend for other NFL teams.

There’s too much money and potential in online gambling for teams like the New York Giants not to get involved like the Jets. With eight online sportsbooks in New Jersey and nine casinos, they have several entities to choose from.

It will only be a matter of time for other teams outside the state, too. Whether the NFL likes it or not, teams and casinos will be doing a lot more business moving forward.

Image credit: Christopher Penler / Shutterstock.com

MGM And Borgata Want To Take The NJ Sports Betting Market By Storm

August 20, 2018
borgata sportsbook

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.

Of course, MGM has been talking about building a state-of-the-art sportsbook at Borgata since even before the US Supreme Court lifted the federal ban on sports betting in May 2018.

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.

MGM Launches Its First Branded, Real-Money Online Gambling Site In NJ

August 10, 2017
playMGM New Jersey site

The banner on playMGM says it all: “Vegas is here. Real Vegas gambling. Online in Jersey.”

Last week, MGM Resorts International launched its first branded online gambling site in New Jersey. It marks a significant moment in the company’s history, said MGM Chief Operating Officer Corey Sanders in a press release.

“We are thrilled to be entering the online gaming landscape in New Jersey with the expansion of our playMGM.com platform to include both casino and poker games,” Sanders said. “The ability to effectively bring Las Vegas to New Jersey via an online experience is an exciting undertaking.”

New NJ online gambling site features slots and table games

At the time of this writing, MGM’s New Jersey online gambling site featured 202 slot games and 22 table games.

There were nine forms of poker, four types of blackjack (including single-deck), as well as two versions of roulette, craps, Jacks or Better, and Mega Ball Action.

The site also featured 11 new games, including Wheel of Fortune on Tour, Loot’EnKhamun, and Ghostbusters Triple Slime.

Industry observers also expect MGM to run an online poker room, which will be included in the existing Borgata/PartyPoker NJ network.

MGM wants to be at forefront of Atlantic City’s rebirth

The launch of this site is anything but a passive move.

Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa, Atlantic City’s flagship casino and MGM’s crown jewel on the East Coast, was once the leader in New Jersey online gambling revenue. In the last few years, however, Golden Nugget has surged ahead to become the undisputed king of online gambling in the state.

Many see playMGM as an overt expansion of MGM’s territory and a push for more influence in a quickly expanding casino market.

Sanders was very clear on this fact in his press release:

“The ability to effectively bring Las Vegas to New Jersey via an online experience is an exciting undertaking, especially as we continue to develop our presence on the East Coast with the recent acquisition of Borgata, the opening of MGM National Harbor and the pending 2018 opening of MGM Springfield in Massachusetts.”

Exactly how much this new online gambling site will affect the New Jersey online casino market remains to be seen. The assumption is that MGM will garner a decent portion of the gambling crowd because it’s new and pushing a Las Vegas theme.

That said, online gambling can be a fickle proposition; MGM is hoping it’s found the formula for success.

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Image by Denise Lafferty / Shutterstock.com

Tropicana Casino AC Buys Chelsea Hotel, Expands 200,000-Square-Foot Empire

July 20, 2017
Tropicana NJ casino Chelsea Hotel

Ask the Tropicana Atlantic City Corp. why the chicken crossed the road: because the The Chelsea Hotel was on the other side.

Earlier this month, Tropicana Entertainment Inc. announced its Atlantic City division had purchased The Chelsea Hotel, a property right across the street from the Tropicana. According to a press release from Tropicana, the plan is to integrate the neighboring property into existing operations. It will be known as “The Chelsea Tower at Tropicana Atlantic City.”

“The Chelsea Tower is a great addition to our four existing hotel towers at Tropicana Atlantic City,” said Tropicana’s Tony Rodio in the press release. “Guests will be able to enjoy a boutique hotel feel while having full access to all resort options at Tropicana Atlantic City.”

Going boutique in a big-box world

“Smaller is better” has never really been Atlantic City’s motto.

The Boardwalk is laden with massive hotel towers standing shoulder to shoulder with the Trop, and the Borgata looms in the distance.

The Chelsea isn’t exactly small — it boasts 20 stories and 330 rooms. But it does have excellent ocean views and, according to the press release, “retro charm.”

Tropicana says the new acquisition will open next month. Future plans for the Chelsea include building a skyway that connects the property to the Trop’s main campus across the street.

Acquisition makes Tropicana Casino an even bigger oceanfront behemoth

Even without the Chelsea, the Trop has more than 2,300 rooms, 24 restaurants, 25 shops, 18 watering holes, and a pair of pools at its New Jersey casino resort.

In all, the Trop encompasses 200,000 square feet of entertainment.

A pre-emptive strike against Borgata and Harrah’s?

Last month, the Press of Atlantic City reported Borgata owner MGM and Harrah’s, owned by Caesars, filed paperwork to start development somewhere in Atlantic City.

The odds-on favorite of the development’s location is the open lot between Borgata and Harrah’s on Renaissance Point and Brigantine boulevards. However, it remains to be seen where the two casinos are going to do their work.

This may be the most interesting aspect of Tropicana’s acquisition. Is it trying to get the jump on its neighbors to the north by being the first casino to expand amid a new, more profitable Atlantic City era?

It’s speculation at this point, but with so much talk of Atlantic City experiencing a rebirth, it’s not outside the realm of possibility.

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