Deal between MGM, GVC is most serious foray into online gambling yet for casino giant

MGM All-In On Online Gambling: Will Launch New Jersey Online Casino, Poker This Year

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MGM is finally putting its name on an online casino.

MGM and New Jersey online gambling

MGM Resorts International announced on Wednesday it was launching online casino and poker games in New Jersey under the playMGM brand. That comes from a new agreement with GVC Holdings to operate the online gambling for MGM.

The relationship between MGM and GVC is not a new one. GVC already powered the software behind the online casino and poker site under the Borgata brand since 2013. MGM owned a 50 percent stake in Borgata when iGaming went live in New Jersey. It took over 100 percent control of Atlantic City’s flagship casino in August of last year.

But this marks is the first time that MGM has offered real-money online casino and poker with MGM’s name attached.

“We are delighted to extend our relationship with MGM Resorts and to be launching casino and poker under the playMGM brand in New Jersey,” GVC Chief Operating Officer Shay Segev said in a press release. “MGM Resorts is quite simply one of the biggest and best names in the business, and we look forward to working with them for many years to come.”

“This is a historic moment for MGM Resorts to be launching real money online casino and poker under the MGM brand for the first time,” said Corey Sanders, chief operating officer of MGM Resorts. “GVC has been a first-rate partner for us, and we are excited about the possibilities of extending that partnership as regulated markets open up in the U.S.”

Questions and answers on playMGM in NJ

What do we know about the playMGM launch?

  • When will playMGM go live? MGM and GVC did not give a hard date, saying only that it would be “launching later this year.”
  • What will playMGM look like? The online casino and poker room should look and feel just like Borgata’s — since both use the same software — just with MGM branding. There will be both desktop and mobile versions.
  • What can you play at playMGM? The playMGM platform will include over 300 casino games — slots and table games — in addition to tournament and cash-game poker.
  • Will it be connected to MLife? Online casino and poker patrons will be able to link accounts for M life — MGM’s rewards program. Logistics aren’t known, as MGM says only that M life “will be integrated into the GVC platform.” MGM added Borgata to M life this year.

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MGM enters at the peak of NJ online gambling

MGM’s announcement comes at the height of online gambling in New Jersey. In March, NJ online casinos tallied $21 million in revenue, a new all-time high.

The Borgata enjoyed an early lead after iGaming’s launch in 2013 because of its strong brand. But since then it has ceded the top position to Golden Nugget; Borgata now holds about a fifth of the market. Smaller AC casinos have found that they are more than capable of competing with Borgata.

Deploying MGM’s brand — iconic around the US — for online gambling should provide an instant shot in the arm. And while MGM’s entrance is not likely to be entirely additive to the bottom line of NJ online casinos, it does have a chance to further expand the market.

MGM’s continued evolution on iGaming

MGM’s interest in online gambling has been visible and growing in recent years:

The move to brand its own online casino in New Jersey is the surest sign yet that MGM is highly interested and invested in the future of online gambling.

Image credit: oneinchpunch /

- Dustin Gouker has been a sports journalist for more than 15 years, working as a reporter, editor and designer -- including stops at The Washington Post and the D.C. Examiner. He has played poker recreationally for his entire adult life and has written about poker since 2008.
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