Golden Nugget Set for Michigan Expansion With Ojibwa Casino Deal

  • Golden Nugget Online Gaming signed the deal with the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community 
  • The agreement with the Ojibwa Casino operator is part of Golden Nugget's US expansion plans
  • Golden Nugget has signed two other partnerships this year to improve its portfolio
  • Tribal casinos and other properties in Michigan have reopened, but Detroit facilities remain closed
Michigan state on map
Golden Nugget’s online gaming subsidiary has gained access to the Michigan market through a new casino deal. [Source: Shutterstock.com]

Sights set on Michigan market

Golden Nugget Online Gaming (GNOG), the online subsidiary of Golden Nugget, has signed a new agreement which will see the operator offer its online casino content in the state of Michigan.

The online casino company has secured market access through a partnership with the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community, the operator of two Ojibwa Casino properties in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

part of Golden Nugget’s plans for US expansion

The agreement is part of Golden Nugget’s plans for US expansion. The operator previously outlined plans to establish a presence in Michigan at the beginning of 2021.

Commenting on the deal, GNOG president Thomas Winter said: “Golden Nugget Online Gaming is thrilled to partner with the Ojibwa Casino to provide casino players in Michigan with a premium online casino and sportsbook experience.”

Golden Nugget broadens its horizons

Golden Nugget already offers its online casino and sports betting products in New Jersey. It is also looking to expand into the Pennsylvania market next year.

Last month, Golden Nugget announced it would be merging its online gaming business with special purpose acquisition corporation Landcadia Holdings II in a deal worth $745m. The agreement will see GNOG go public on the Nasdaq exchange in the third quarter.

deal would help fund Golden Nugget’s expansion into online gaming states

Tilman Fertitta, CEO of Golden Nugget parent company Landry’s, commented on the decision to go public in a message to investors. He said the deal would help fund Golden Nugget’s expansion into online gaming states while maintaining profitability.

This year, Golden Nugget entered into two new agreements to expand its content portfolio as it looks towards expansion. In February, it signed a multi-year extension to its partnership with provider Scientific Games. The company also agreed a new content deal with Evolution Gaming in May.

Michigan casino closures

Land-based casinos in Michigan closed on March 16 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Since then, a number of casinos have reopened with added safety restrictions, including 22 of the state’s 23 tribal casinos.

In contrast, Detroit’s casinos remain closed, with city-wide business restrictions still in place. The city’s largest three casinos, MGM Grand Detroit, MotorCity Casino, and Greektown Casino, have struggled to generate revenue as a result.

For the first six months of 2020, MGM Grand Detroit revenue was down by 40%, totaling $126.5m. Motorcity Casino revenue for the same period saw a 41% fall to $102.6m. Greektown Casino revenue also dropped 41% to $70.1m. Total revenue for all three casinos fell by 59% for the first six months of 2020, totaling $299.2m.

It is unclear when casinos in the city will reopen, with Michigan COVID-19 cases recently seeing a sharp increase. On Thursday, the number of confirmed cases in the state amounted to 71,842, up 645 from the day before. The total number of deaths was 6,101, an increase of 16 from the prior day. The average increase in daily cases is now the highest it has been since May 20.