BetMGM Sports Betting Gears Up for Expansion into Illinois and Ontario

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BetMGM Sports Betting Gears Up for Expansion into Illinois and Ontario

MGM Resorts International, having launched its BetMGM sports betting platform last month in New York and Louisiana, is preparing to go live soon in Illinois and Canada, company executives said.

“We’re excited by its growth,” CEO Bill Hornbuckle said in an earnings call with investors on Wednesday.

During the call, CFO Jonathan Halkyard noted that BetMGM is operational in 21 markets, including its newest, Puerto Rico, on Wednesday. He said the sports wagering platform could be up and running later this month in Illinois.

Ontario Mobile Wagering Set to Begin in April

BetMGM and other online bookmakers are gearing up for the April 4 launch of single-event sports betting in Ontario, Canada’s most populous province.

With a population of about 15 million people, Ontario would be the fifth-largest state if it were in the U.S., only behind California, Texas, Florida and New York. Of those, only New York has legal sports betting.

BetMGM Experiences ‘Busy’ Year

Beginning in January, the BetMGM New York Sportsbook went live.

BetMGM also is licensed in Louisiana, which went live with mobile wagering in late January. Louisiana is the only Gulf Coast state, from Texas to Florida, with legal mobile sports wagering.

“The team remains busy,” Halkyard said.

Additional information regarding BetMGM will be discussed with investors in May, he said.

In a statement issued before the earnings call, Hornbuckle said, “We remain excited about our long-term opportunities, including leading the U.S. sports betting and iGaming market through BetMGM.”

New York Casinos Expansion Possible at Empire City

During the call, MGM Resorts executives discussed possible casino expansion at its Empire City property in Yonkers, New York. The harness racetrack and slots parlor is located just north of the Bronx, a New York City borough.

Empire City has 5,500 slot matches and could add a couple hundred table games, Hornbuckle said. With 97 acres at the site, MGM Resorts also has room to expand with a structured garage.

State Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, D-Yonkers, has said she supports converting Empire City into a full casino, according to the New York Post.

“Of course, I’m going to support my hometown casino, which by the way, has done the work,” she said.

Gov. Kathy Hochul, a Democrat, wants to expedite the timetable for the state Gaming Commission to issue licenses for up to three casinos in the New York City area, the Post reported. A previous ban prohibited downstate casinos through next year.

This could mean potential licensing this year for casino expansion at Empire City and Resorts World New York City at the Aqueduct horse track in Queens.

MGM Resorts Revenue Tops $3 Billion

Among other figures from the fourth quarter of 2021 and the entire year, MGM Resorts reported:

  • Consolidated net revenues of $3.1 billion, which included a full quarter of operating results from the Aria and Vdara resorts on the Las Vegas Strip, an increase of 105% compared to the previous year quarter.
  • Net income attributable to MGM Resorts of $131 million compared to net loss attributable to MGM Resorts of $448 million in the prior year quarter.

Results during the same period on the Las Vegas Strip include:

  • Net revenues of $1.8 billion, an increase of 277% compared to the prior year quarter, an increase of 26% compared to the fourth quarter of 2019, and an increase of 5% compared to the fourth quarter of 2019 when excluding Aria in 2021 and excluding Circus Circus Las Vegas in 2019.
  • Results in China include:

    • Net revenues of $315 million, an increase of 3% compared to the prior year quarter and a decrease of 57% compared to the fourth quarter of 2019. The current and prior year quarters were negatively affected by travel and entry restrictions in Macau because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

    Las Vegas COVID-19 Restrictions Could be Eased

    Pending regulatory approval, MGM Resorts also expects to close on its $1.075 billion sale of the Mirage hotel/casino on the Las Vegas Strip in the second half of the year. The Seminole Tribe of Florida is acquiring the property and planning major renovations.

    MGM Resort’s executives expressed optimism Wednesday that COVID-19 restrictions could ease in Las Vegas, as in other states, and that conventions and international travel will return to Southern Nevada.

    “I expect that given positive COVID trends in Nevada, we will start to see meaningful lifting of COVID restrictions in the very, very near future,” Hornbuckle said.

    Hornbuckle also noted that Las Vegas, which hosted the NHL All-Star game last weekend and is hosting the Super Bowl in 2024, has become a major destination for sports enthusiasts.

    The NHL’s Vegas Golden Knights play home games at T-Mobile Arena near the Park MGM hotel-casino on the Strip, while the NFL’s Las Vegas Raiders make their home at Allegiant Stadium, just west of the Strip, near MGM’s Mandalay Bay hotel-casino.

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