On Monday morning, MGM Resorts International and Boyd Gaming announced a new and “unprecedented partnership.” Under the agreement, both companies will gain access to 12 new (15 total) online gaming markets – including Pennsylvania.
Both companies currently operate in:
- Illinois (Pending the MGM – Grand Victoria sale)
15 states involved in the deal
In a press release, Boyd Gaming President and CEO Keith Smith said:
“Our industry is evolving, providing opportunities for growth through new forms of gaming like online and mobile gaming. Thanks to our partnership with MGM Resorts, Boyd Gaming will have the opportunity to potentially add an online presence in five additional states, positioning us for significant future growth as our respective companies take a leadership role in our industry’s evolution.”
The five states where Boyd gains access are:
- New Jersey
- Massachusetts (Pending the opening of MGM Springfield)
- New York (Pending the closure of MGM’s purchase of Empire City)
- MGM Resorts
Chairman & CEO, Jim Murren said:
“We are excited to team yet again with Boyd Gaming on this unprecedented partnership, which allows us to fully engage with the almost 30 million M life Rewards members throughout the country. We look forward to expanding our entertainment options for guests beyond their visits to our land-based resorts.”
The two companies were equal owners of Borgata in New Jersey until 2016 when MGM bought out Boyd. With the deal, Boyd once again has access to the New Jersey market while MGM gains entry into:
- Pennsylvania (Pending the closure of Boyd’s Valley Forge purchase)
- Ohio (Boyd deal pending)
- Missouri (Boyd deal pending)
Boyd buying Valley Forge Casino
Boyd is in the process of buying Valley Forge Casino Resort in King of Prussia. Announced in Dec. 2017, the deal is on track to close in Sept. 2018. It will grant entry to Boyd, and now MGM to the Pennsylvania gaming market.
In April, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) approved the license change from Valley Forge Casino Resort to Boyd Gaming. During the hearing, Boyd spoke to the possibility of online gaming and sports betting.
In mid-July, Valley Forge applied for a combination online gaming license that includes peer-to-peer games, table games, and slot machines.
It has yet to apply for a sports betting license, however. If the sports betting application process follows the online gaming process, expect Valley Forge to apply at the last minute.
In 2017, it looked like MGM would get into Pennsylvania via acquisition like Boyd did. Rumors swirled for months that MGM was buying Sands Bethlehem. The deal ultimately fell apart, possibly because of the uncertainty that the gambling expansion bill would pass. Now, Wind River is finalizing a $1.2 billion purchase of the Sands facility instead.
MGM busy with GVC deal as well
In addition to the Boyd deal, MGM also announced a joint venture with GVC Holdings to create its online sports betting and gaming platforms.
In a separate press release, Murren said:
“We are proud to join forces with GVC, the largest and most dynamic global online betting operator, with existing reputable and trusted operations in the U.S. With MGM Resorts’ expertise and leading position in key markets across the U.S., this historic partnership will be positioned to become the instant leader in technology, market access, sports relationships, and brands. We are excited to benefit from GVC’s proprietary, best-in-class technology, digital customer acquisition expertise, and experience with adapting to new operating environments. GVC is unusually qualified due to their existing operations in the U.S. Together, we are creating a one-of-a-kind platform that we expect will dominate the U.S. sports betting market.”
There is an interesting aside to today’s announcement. There were rumors that GVC was partnering with Valley Forge to provide its online gaming and sports betting platforms in Pennsylvania. The speculation makes sense since Boyd and GVC have a relationship through Borgata’s online casino.
What is unclear is how today’s events, specifically the MGM and GVC partnership affects Boyd, if at all. What is clear is that Boyd and MGM are positioned to bring years of online sports betting experience to a significant number of states as online gaming and mobile sports betting legislation allows.