GVC and MGM Link Up for US Expansion

Las Vegas at night

Another UK company is set to expand in the US after the UK owner of Ladbrokes, Corals and Sportingbet agreed to set up a joint venture with hotel and casino operator MGM Resorts.

With companies like William Hill and Paddy Power Betfair already expanding into the US after the Supreme Court paved the way to legalized sports betting, this move by GVC had long been anticipated.

The company said that the venture – a 50/50 split between the two firms with each firm investing $100m (£76m) – would be “well positioned to take advantage of expansion opportunities”.

MGM is best known for Las Vegas brands such as the MGM Grand and Bellagio hotels and casinos, so the link-up with GVC will presumably allow them to add online sports betting to those brands.

Dominate the US market?

GVC and MGM are promising that the US venture will have its headquarters in a “major technology hub” with the senior management team drawn from both companies – as well as taking on new recruits.

MGM Resorts CEO Jim Murren said: “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 US.

“With MGM Resorts’ expertise and leading position in key markets across the US this historic partnership will be positioned to become the instant leader in technology, market access, sports relationships and brands.”

His bullish theme continued with: “Together we are creating a one-of-a-kind platform that we expect to dominate the US sports betting market.”

Further expansion expected

Both William Hill and Paddy Power will surely have something to say about “dominating” the market, with the latter having recently bought the daily fantasy sports company Fan Duel.

What you can say in the short term is that this will not be the last UK firm to expand into the US – again, almost certainly with an existing US company – and that there are likely to be plenty more mergers and partnerships before the rapidly expanding US market settles down.

Clearly not every firm that enters the market is going to be successful – but for those that make it work, the potential rewards are enormous.