GVC, the UK owner of the Ladbrokes, Coral and Sportingbet brands, has partnered with MGM Resorts on a US$200 million US sports betting joint venture.
The decision to take advantage of a huge new market comes after the US Supreme Court’s ruling to legalise sports betting in the country, overturning a 1992 legislation which banned fans from gambling on live sporting events.
The new business will be split equally between the two firms, with both GVC and MGM set to invest an initial US$100 million. The two parties said the venture would have its headquarters in ‘a major US technology hub’, with a leadership team to be drawn from both companies, along with new recruits.
“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,” said Jim Murren, chief executive of MGM Resorts, which is best known for its Las Vegas casinos such as the MGM Grand and the Bellagio.
“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.
“Together, we are creating a one-of-a-kind platform that we expect will dominate the US sports betting market.”
GVC is the latest UK company to scramble for position in the emerging US sports betting market, following Paddy Power Betfair’s move in May to buy American daily fantasy operator FanDuel. Meanwhile, William Hill already has a substantial sports betting business in Nevada, one of the few states that permitted wagering on sporting events prior to the Supreme Court ruling.
"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," added GVC chief executive Kenneth Alexander.
"This combined with GVC's technology and experience in successfully building online gaming businesses across multiple markets presents a truly exciting opportunity for US players and our respective shareholders.
"To be able to team up with a partner with such pedigree and knowledge, particularly in the US, is a real opportunity for GVC."