GVC confirms deal with MGM Resorts

News on 30 Jul 2018

UK land and online gambling group GVC Holdings plc issued a statement early Monday confirming the breaking news over the weekend that it is in advanced talks on a 50/50 joint venture with US gambling giant MGM Resorts International (see previous report).

The statement reveals that the venture will create a world-class sports betting and online gaming platform in the United States, well-positioned to engage in the new opportunities created by the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision overturning the U.S. federal Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, or PASPA.

MGM Resorts and GVC will bring together market-leading assets, distinguished brands, proven and scalable proprietary technology, and extensive industry expertise to revolutionise the world of sports betting and online gaming in the United States, the statement declares.

The formation of the joint venture significantly increases speed to market for both parties in an efficient and prudent manner, lowers execution risk, and creates meaningful early mover advantages.

Kenneth Alexander, CEO of GVC, said: “MGM Resorts is a world leading entertainment business and the most trusted name in gaming, with the highest quality brands and management, and strong sports connectivity.  This combined with GVC’s technology and experience in successfully building online gaming businesses across multiple markets presents a truly exciting opportunity for U.S. players and our respective shareholders. To be able to team up with a partner with such pedigree and knowledge, particularly in the U.S., is a real opportunity for GVC.”

Jim Murren, chairman and CEO of MGM Resorts, added: “We are proud to join forces with GVC, the largest and most dynamic global online betting operator, with existing reputable and trusted operations in the U.S.. With MGM Resorts’ expertise and leading position in key markets across the U.S., this historic partnership will be positioned to become the instant leader in technology, market access, sports relationships and brands. We are excited to benefit from GVC’s proprietary, best-in-class technology, digital customer acquisition expertise, and experience with adapting to new operating environments. GVC is unusually qualified due to their existing operations in the U.S.. Together, we are creating a one-of-a-kind platform that we expect will dominate the U.S. sports betting market.”

The new venture will have exclusive access to all U.S. land-based and online sports betting, online real money and free-to-play casino gaming, major tournament and online poker, and other similar future interactive businesses – facilitating entry into multiple digital gaming verticals under the playMGM and partypoker headline brands. The venture will also allow for full integration between the MGM Resorts and GVC loyalty programs, enhancing the user experience and value proposition for existing and future customers.

Combining the expertise of two multi-billion-dollar, industry leading gaming and consumer businesses with a track record of successful joint ventures and partnerships, the venture will bring market leading brands into the enterprise, leveraging existing consumer loyalty to drive results, the statement outlines.

MGM Resorts holds a portfolio of iconic, well-known brands that the venture will be able to utilise as it enters the online sports betting and gaming markets. GVC will also be providing a portfolio of strong and complementary sports betting and gaming brands, including partypoker.

In terms of technology, the venture will have access, both as an operator and as a supplier, to the proven, U.S. licensed, multichannel technology provided by GVC to create a leading platform with world class content and broad reach and distribution.

MGM Resorts has an established collection of market-leading properties in the United States, a database of over 27 million M life Rewards members, and has recently entered into an agreement to purchase the operating assets of Empire City, providing access to the densely populated, sports-heavy New York market.  In addition, the joint venture will benefit from the MGM Resorts market access agreement with Boyd Gaming which provides a pathway to access a total of fifteen states with an addressable population of approximately 90 million.

MGM Resorts will leverage its substantial sports, entertainment, and professional league relationships for the benefit of the joint venture. With a portfolio including T-Mobile Arena, over 25 other arena and entertainment venues, and extensive relationships with multiple local professional teams and national leagues, MGM Resorts is a leader in the sports entertainment industry.

Under the agreement, MGM Resorts and GVC have agreed to capitalise the venture with initial commitments of US$100 million per partner. The venture will establish a separate headquarters to be located in a major U.S. technology hub, select a leadership team comprised of best-in-class talent from each company and additional new hires, and form a four-person board of directors with equal representation from MGM Resorts and GVC to oversee the venture’s ongoing operations and growth. Both parties are excited to announce the formation of the joint venture in anticipation of the upcoming professional American football season.

The commencement of the joint venture operations are subject to gaming regulatory approvals.

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