MLB to Launch BetMGM App With Real Money Prizes
Cash prizes for predictions
Major League Baseball (MLB) has announced plans to launch a free-to-play betting app through its partnership with MGM Resorts. The app will be powered by MGM’s sportsbook brand BetMGM, and will offer MLB fans the opportunity to make predictions on games when the 2020 season resumes.
Players will be able to make predictions on the results of games and plays within those games. Although free-to-play, the app will feature contests that offer cash prizes as players aim to generate points with correct predictions.
Despite offering cash prizes, MLB executive vice president of strategy, technology and innovation, Chris Marinak, has confirmed that the app will not have any ties to a real-money sportsbook. Commenting on the launch, Marinak told Los Angeles Times: “There’s no sports betting element in any of our apps. It is important we stick to gaming.”
MGM’s sports betting investment
The BetMGM sports betting app was first launched in the state of New Jersey in 2019 by ROAR Digital – a 50/50 venture consisting of MGM Resorts and GVC Holdings. According to ROAR Digital CEO Adam Greenblatt, the aim is to grow BetMGM into one of the biggest brands in US online gaming and sports betting.
Since its creation, the sportsbook has seen considerable investment from both MGM and GVC. The two companies invested $200m into ROAR Digital in July 2018 and have since committed to a further investment of $250m this year. Overall, the joint venture now has more than $370m worth of capital at its disposal.
This year, the BetMGM sportsbook was rolled out in West Virginia, Indiana, and Nevada. ROAR Digital plans to be operational with the sportsbook in 11 different states by the end of 2020. The Nevada launch saw MGM Resorts rebrand its sportsbooks and more than 100 gaming kiosks across its Las Vegas properties.
The potential of legal sports betting
Data from the American Gaming Association (AGA) predicted that MLB stands to earn $1.11bn annually from a legal sports betting market. It is forecasted that $952m of this total will be earned through increased revenue from fan engagement. Around $154m is predicted to be generated from gaming related revenue, such as sponsorship, advertising, and product fees.
In total, the four major North American sports leagues – MLB, NBA, NFL, and NHL – are forecasted to earn $4.23bn per year from a legal sports betting market. The NFL is predicted to generate the highest total revenue, at $2.32bn.
So far this year, US sports betting growth has been stunted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Statewide lockdowns have led to the cancellation of most major sports events and leagues. MLB will resume without fans this week after more than four months of cancellations.