Continuing a recent flurry of momentum, BetMGM was unanimously cleared by the Pennsylvania State Gaming Control Board last Wednesday to begin offering sports betting in Pennsylvania. The PGCB approved both interactive gaming operators and sports wagering operator licenses for BetMGM. The final stage will be securing a land-based casino to partner.
After online gambling was legalized in Pennsylvania in November 2017, not every retail casino located in the state pursued licenses. Therefore, the PGCB opened applications to out-of-state companies to operate online casinos in Pennsylvania as what is referred to as “qualified gaming entities” or QGE’s.
BetMGM LLC, based in Delaware had made the original application as a QGE in January 2019. In October 2019, MGM paid $12M to secure all three gambling verticals including slots, table games, and poker.
Subsequently, BetMGM changed its decision to apply as a land-based partner rather than a QGE. That enabled BetMGM to add sports wagering, which was not possible under the original QGE arrangement. Following work completed by the Bureau of Investigations and Enforcement, the Bureau of Licensing supplied the necessary background and suitability reports for BetMGM. There was a unanimous approval pending the final stage for BetMGM to launch for a land-based partner for PA.
BetMGM is operated by parent company Roar Digital. Roar Digital is a joint venture between MGM Resorts International and GVC Holdings. Neither entity directly owns a casino in Pennsylvania, however, MGM owns and operates The Borgata in nearby Atlantic City, New Jersey. The Borgata has received a certificate from the PGCB as a QGE, which would allow BetMGM to potentially launch an online casino without the need for an in-state land-based partner.
In New Jersey, ROAR offers poker gaming via partypoker. One goal for the company is to launch in Pennsylvania via the party brand. When online poker began in Pennsylvania the only previous operator had been PokerStars. Plans are currently underway to bring partypoker to the state. In time, PA players should find a ROAR option in the state, with partypoker PA launching soon, offering the same options as they do in New Jersey.
The news involving Pennsylvania follows a flurry of other recent announcements involving BetMGM and their advancement to be major online sports wagering factors in the industry.
On November 1 Tennessee officially welcomed sports wagering with BetMGM among one of the first four sportsbooks awarded licenses. That deal included a partnership with the local NFL Tennessee Titans in September and will be featured on Titan’s digital platforms, including key in-game moments.
The BetMGM app also includes several unique features, including the option to automatically cash out some bets once their value reaches a certain dollar limit set by the user. Plus, the opportunity to earn M-life reward points redeemable for experiences in MGM resort properties or additional gameplay.
For a feature promotion, BetMGM will offer a risk-free $500 bet for new customers, meaning if a customer loses their first wager, the company will refund it up to $500.
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Larry Gibbs is both a seasoned journalist and a respected online gaming industry consultant. His wry commentary & sharp analysis have appeared in numerous top gaming and sports wagering publications. He has also served as Vice President of US Gaming Services, a marketing research organization with 15 years of experience in US online wagering. He has spoken at noted gaming industry conferences including G2E, GiGSE, and NCLGS.
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