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MGM Resorts International on Tuesday announced a deal with Las Vegas-based slots developer AGS.
The agreement covers all of MGM’s online casino brands and all US states. Starting in New Jersey, BetMGM, Borgata Online and partypoker will all integrate AGS’s distribution platform and begin offering some of its games.
BetMGM, the flagship brand, is a joint venture between MGM and GVC Holdings. It’s also active in West Virginia and coming soon to Pennsylvania and Michigan. AGS games should make their way into its casinos in those states in due time.
BetMGM’s vice president of gaming, Matt Sunderland, said, “We are thrilled to add AGS games to our online casino offering and are confident that the AGS content, which has proven to perform well both online and in land-based casinos, will be a hit with our players, with features like multilevel jackpots, free games, and exciting bonus events.”
AGS is first and foremost a manufacturer of physical gaming machines. Specifically, it focuses on the US Class II tribal gaming market. It has a relatively modest catalog of just over 100 real money online slots at the moment. Some fan favorites already available at other New Jersey online casinos include:
Unfortunately, its focus on Class II tribal gaming has meant rough times for AGS during the COVID-19 pandemic. That category of establishment cannot offer casino games, but can offer bingo and slots-like machines that base their payouts on simulated rounds of bingo. It is those machines that form the core of AGS’s business.
Class II establishments tend to be smaller than their Class III or commercial competitors, which has made it hard for them to reopen safely and successfully. While other gaming stocks have been recovering steadily since March, AGS stalled after a few months and is now trading lower than it did in June.
It has responded to that challenge by stepping up its efforts in the online space. Although its content was already available at some New Jersey sites when the year began, in May, it struck deals in rapid succession with Kindred Group and Rush Street Interactive, bringing its products to the Pennsylvania real-money online gambling market. Its client list now includes many of the major online casino brands, including:
BetMGM is a valuable addition to that list, especially given its impending expansion into new states. The Borgata, on whose license it operates, is the second-highest-grossing licensee in New Jersey, and BetMGM is, by some estimates, the No. 1 operator in the state.
Speaking about the agreement, AGS Executive Vice President Matt Reback said, “This is an exciting development in the growth of our interactive business, giving us access to BetMGM’s broad player reach and distribution of our engaging game content through the BetMGM, Borgata Online, and partypoker robust online casinos, which are live in New Jersey and will soon expand to Michigan, Pennsylvania, and other markets.”
Brick-and-mortar casino-goers in Pennsylvania and Michigan may already be familiar with AGS’s products. Some of its machines can be found at Parx and MotorCity Casino. Fans of those games may not have to wait long to be able to play them online at BetMGM.
In the Keystone State, BetMGM is what’s known as a qualified gaming entity (QGE). MGM doesn’t have a physical property in the state, but it and Golden Nugget have been allowed to grab two of the licenses left unclaimed by the local operators. The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board has been slow in granting them final approval, but both should get the green light before the year is out.
Meanwhile, the Michigan regulator is racing to get its ducks in a row for an expedited iGaming launch. The current best estimate there is that the first Michigan online casinos should be able to launch in late November. BetMGM should be a part of that first wave, as the presence of MGM Grand Detroit makes licensing considerably more straightforward there than in Pennsylvania.