MGM adds new card to European hand as BetMGM launched in UK

MGM adds new card to European hand as BetMGM launched in UK

MGM Resorts International has extended its reach in Europe, building on its acquisition of established multinational igaming operator LeoVegas by launching its BetMGM brand in the UK.

BetMGM began as a joint venture between the Las Vegas-based entertainment conglomerate and London-headquartered international group Entain. However, the UK brand will operate outside of this joint venture, using LeoVegas platform as well as Kambi‘s sportsbook technology.

The betting brand has been made available to UK customers via mobile and desktop, including apps, offering sports betting and igaming. A national media launch is planned in September, MGM detailed.

Bill Hornbuckle, MGM Resorts CEO, said: “BetMGM is a proven brand in the sports betting and igaming space, and we look forward to welcoming international players into our platforms designed specifically for them.

“Today’s announcement represents a key step forward in our international growth strategy, which has been advancing rapidly since our acquisition of LeoVegas.”

BetMGM has established itself one of the most prominent names in US igaming in the years since it launched in 2019, one year after the repeal of PASPA paved the way for legal sports betting across the country in 2018.

The brand is the third biggest online sportsbook in the US in terms of market share, after FanDuel and DraftKings in first and second place, respectively, and is on track to achieve profitability in the second half of this year – a long term target of its JV partners MGM and Entain.

However, whether the company will find more success in the UK is uncertain. The country is already home to a number of prominent brands, many of which have been operating for decades.

BetMGM will also be actively competing alongside – or against – Entain’s existing properties of Ladbrokes and Coral, already two high-profile operators on the UK high-street, at racetracks and on customers’ phone and computer screens.

On the other hand, the market is very mature and despite going through a period of regulatory changes under the government’s Gambling Act review continues to produce high gross gambling yield (GGY) and gross gambling revenue (GGR). 

MGM also stressed that whilst it will operate BetMGM in the UK independently using LeoVegas’ tech and Kambi’s platform, the BetMGM LLC joint venture will continue to operate in the US and Canada on Entain’s tech.

“We’ve had great success in the US and Canada with our BetMGM brand and we’re confident we can duplicate this success in other markets, beginning with the UK,” said Gary Fritz, President, MGM Resorts International Interactive. 

“The UK is a mature online gaming market, and we believe the BetMGM brand will provide distinct relevance to both sports bettors and igaming consumers.”

The move makes it even clearer that MGM has serious intent on expanding in the European market, after a period which saw many European firms try to enter the US and capitalise on the post-PASPA gold rush.

As mentioned above, MGM acquired Sweden-based pan-European igaming operator LeoVegas in September of last year, and has on at least two occasions pursued an acquisition of its UK partner Entain. 

These have been shut down by the LSE firm twice, prompting MGM’s Hornbuckle to remark that his firm would not target another acquisition ‘for now’ back in February. Media reports in January suggested that a takeover would be re-considered after the Gambling Act review White Paper was published, but such interest has not yet materialised.

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