Following a recent flood of new sports books and online casinos being added to the Pennsylvania gaming market, the state’s gaming regulatory authority, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB), has granted the licenses for BetMGM to begin both its online sportsbook and online casino operation, and perhaps even add an online poker room.
The final hurdle for BetMGM to overcome and launch in the Keystone State will be securing a land-based casino partner. After online gambling was legalized by state lawmakers in Pennsylvania in November 2017, not every retail casino located in the state pursued licenses which should give BetMGM the opportunity to find a suitable Pennsylvania home.
Delaware-based BetMGM LLC originally made its application as a qualified gaming entity (QGE) in January 2019. Later in October 2019, MGM paid the $12 million fee in order to offer all three online gambling verticals in the Keystone State: online casino, online sports wagering and online poker.
The process was slowed down by a Pennsylvania Bureau of Investigations and Enforcement inquiry, however the PGCB was eventually able to offer BetMGM its license after the required background checks and suitability reports were made available to them. Notably, the PGCB was unanimous in approving the BetMGM applications.
Sports Betting, Casino and BetMGM Poker in PA?
It almost goes without saying that BetMGM will have its online sportsbook up-and-running sooner rather than later in Pennsylvania. BetMGM’s online sportsbook is already live in New Jersey, Indiana, Colorado, Nevada, Tennessee and West Virginia with New Mexico also in a position to launch before year’s end. The BetMGM online casino will add an additional revenue stream for the company in the Keystone State.
BetMGM also operates online poker in other states partnership with GVC Holdings under the ROAR Digital brand. ROAR currently operates the Partypoker brand in neighboring New Jersey, and eventually, it seems it will also in a position to add Partypoker to its operations in the Keystone State., although it may be rebranded.
In New Jersey, the Partypoker brand is closely linked to the Borgata Casino & Hotel that does not have any operations in Pennsylvania, and the US Wire Act of 1961 may limit the Partypoker name being used in the Keystone State.
BetMGM doing the heavy lifting for the MGM brand
Spreading its wings into Pennsylvania should assist in BetMGM continuing to be the revenue savior for the MGM brand.
Overall, on the back of closures and limited capacities due to ongoing global pandemic, MGM Casinos lost a reported $535 million in the third quarter, however, BetMGM is holding strong. In a significant bright spot for the company, BetMGM has defied all forecasts and expectations.
BetMGM is claiming to have stolen the #1 New Jersey iGaming operator title (taking both online casino and sportsbook into account), lifting its market share to almost 18% for the year to date, and over 20% alone in the third quarter.
MGM Chief Executive Officer Bill Hornbuckle explained;
“The third quarter offered signs of stability and recovery driven by strength at our US regional operations. As a part of that regional lift, BetMGM has gained significant momentum. We’re now a top three operator in every market where it is live, and revenues are publicly reported.” Hornbuckle said.
Hornbuckle also went on to say that BetMGM has increased the arm’s net 2020 revenue projection to somewhere between $150 million to $160 million, up approximately 20 %to 25% on the original $130 million predictions for BetMGM. It’s clear that by continuing to acquire customers through its industry-leading 34 million-member player rewards program (which Pennsylvanians should also look forward to), the BetMGM brand is a supplying a refreshing tonic to the overall MGM numbers.