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Volume 23 No. 13
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BetMGM outlines hopes for future of Yahoo Sports deal

Yahoo Sports and BetMGM raised the curtain last week on the first iteration of a sportsbook integration that will allow Yahoo Sports users in New Jersey to click through to place wagers on the BetMGM platform.

 

Users of the Yahoo Sports app and website now will see BetMGM point spreads, over-unders and moneyline odds on the landing pages for games across sports, with the option to click through to place bets and see more odds. Those in New Jersey who choose to will be re-directed to BetMGM, where they can register for and fund a sportsbook account, which they can use to place bets in New Jersey.

Those not in New Jersey won’t be able to place bets — for now.

The single-state launch marks the beginning of a partnership that BetMGM and Yahoo Sports plan to roll out in other states that offer mobile sports wagering. That is an evolving process that will vary state to state, not only in the way they allow betting — only in casinos, only online, or both — but in the manner in which they regulate licensed sportsbook affiliates, such as Yahoo Sports, which will collect revenue based on the business it drives for BetMGM.

“Getting the product and platform out to mainstream America is very important,” said Scott Butera, president of interactive gaming for MGM Resorts, who pointed to Yahoo’s vast base of more than 10 million fantasy players and 60 million monthly users. “Our plan has always been to have a really complete platform with a lot of high-quality product offerings for our customers. Our goal is to win people over with product as opposed to having to spend money on heavy promotion and advertising.”

While Yahoo Sports is available anywhere there is internet, sports betting is up and running in only 13 states. Only seven of those — Indiana, Iowa, Nevada, New Jersey, Oregon, Rhode Island and West Virginia — offer online sports betting. Though Butera has said BetMGM plans to eventually operate in all states that legalize online sports betting, it currently has access in only four of those: Nevada and New Jersey — where it operates casinos — and Iowa and Indiana, through an access deal with Boyd Gaming.

BetMGM and Yahoo Sports did not reveal a timetable for expansion, other than to say they would work to move forward as states opened and they gained access.

“Here’s the whole thing with sports betting in general: How do you look at it?” Butera said. “Do you look at it as we sit here today or do you look at it as it’s going to look in 2022, ’23, ’24? Nothing that we’re doing was designed to be a one-state anything. It just so happens that we have to start somewhere.

“New Jersey is a very tough place to start. It’s very competitive. … But it’s where you’ve got to start given where we are.”