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MGM and GVC increase BetMGM investment to $450m


Shareholders of Roar Digital, the joint venture between MGM Resorts and GVC Holdings, have committed to a second round of investment in the business, bringing its total funding to $450m. 

This follows the partners’ initial $200m investment in Roar, with both GVC and MGM splitting ownership 50-50, in July 2018 and provides the business with $370m in investable capital. 

GVC chief executive Kenny Alexander described Roar Digital and BetMGM as “the most important and exciting investment that GVC has ever made”.

“We are absolutely committed to ensuring that the company has the funding and technical resources needed to achieve long-term market leadership, whilst delivering significant value for shareholders,” he said.

MGM and GVC noted that Roar had grown significantly since its launch, and is on track to be live in 11 states by the end of 2020, under the BetMGM and PartyPoker brands. It has market access agreements in place for 19 states, covering as much as 50% of the US population.

“We launched this business to combine the best of MGM Resorts and GVC and establish BetMGM as a leading brand in the US sports betting and igaming markets,” Roar Digital chief executive Adam Greenblatt said. 

“With broad market access secured, our long-term technology foundations now firmly established, and a high performing team in place, this further unequivocal support from our two shareholders will ensure we can achieve leading market positions in this exciting industry that is growing even faster than our initial expectations.”

Despite the impact of novel coronavirus (Covid-19) on operations in 2020 to date, Greenblatt revealed that BetMGM was expected to generate more than $130m in net revenue for the year. 

This is expected to come primarily from its igaming offering in New Jersey, he said, where Roar has market share of around 18%, and had seen revenue rise 210% year-on-year in the second quarter of 2020.

“With the return of sports and our growing operations across the US, we anticipate rapid growth in the coming year,” Greenblatt added.

This will be supported by the resources provided by MGM Resorts, which not only gives Roar a path into regulated markets, but has also allowed for the integration of its M Live Rewards loyalty program. The integration means online customers to collect tier credits, as well as encouraging land-based customers to shift online in regulated states. 

Exclusive partnerships with restaurant chain Buffalo Wild Wings and Yahoo Sports further extend BetMGM’s reach, as well as giving it access to Yahoo’s 64m monthly active users, including a significant fantasy sports player base. 

Its offering is underpinned by GVC’s technology, supported by a dedicated IT team, as well as special features such as rewards, odds boosts, auto cash-out and bet building functionality. Proprietary igaming content has further strengthened Roar’s position in New Jersey, it noted. 

Operations are overseen by a team combining talent from MGM and GVC, that brings together local market knowledge and industry expertise.

MGM Resorts acting chief executive and president Bill Hornbuckle described sports betting and igaming as “fundamental” to what the business does best.

“Our investment in Roar is a demonstration of our continued excitement about the unique benefit of offering unforgettable, premier entertainment experiences to millions of our loyal guests directly through BetMGM,” he explained. 

“We believe this competitive advantage places BetMGM at the forefront of the most dynamic growth opportunity in all of US gaming and will ultimately deliver meaningful long-term value for our shareholders.”