MGM CEO: ‘Poised To Immediately Take Advantage’ Of Legal Sports Betting

Posted on April 26, 2018
Written By on April 26, 2018

MGM Resorts International CEO Jim Murren pointed to the New Jersey sports betting case as a potential win for investors.

Murren offered his thoughts on the federal sports wagering ban outside of Nevada — PASPA — unprompted at the end of Thursday’s Q1 earnings call. He envisions a win for New Jersey as a victory for MGM — owner of the Borgata in Atlantic City — as well.

“I think there should be great emphasis on what might happen at the Supreme Court,” Murren said. “Our legal experts seem very confident that PASPA will be overturned.”

That echoes what Murren said during last year’s Q4 call.

“If you add to that the fact that the Supreme Court will likely legalize sports betting this year, MGM is really poised to immediately take advantage of that opportunity. Sports as it relates to our performing events here and as it relates to our industry we believe is a significant avenue of growth for MGM Resorts in the future.”

Why Murren is confident a PASPA repeal bodes well for MGM

Murren highlighted “decades” of “building trust with regulators” in Nevada and the company’s expertise in sports betting as reasons for confidence.

“We intend to be the biggest beneficiary of commercial sports betting if the Supreme Court should overturn PASPA as early as June. We’ll talk to that in great detail at our investor day,” Murren said, speaking of an event planned for May.

MGM’s presence in many states considering sports gambling in case of a PASPA repeal positions it well to benefit. It already offers sports betting via its Nevada properties and has an online sports betting app called playMGM.

Other MGM properties:

  • Mississippi: Beau Rivage in Biloxi and Gold Strike in Tunica
  • Michigan: MGM Grand Detroit
  • Massachusetts: MGM Springfield (opening later this year)
  • Maryland: MGM National Harbor
  • Illinois: Grand Victoria

Mississippi in particular could be ready to flip the switch within a few months.

MGM placing its faith in the sports world

While Thursday’s call highlighted some of MGM struggles in Las Vegas and saw its stock drop, Murren sounded bullish on sports aiding the company’s future. MGM partnered with AEG to build T-Mobile Arena on the Strip and is heavily invested in the success of the Vegas Golden Knights.

In addition to hockey, MGM purchased the San Antonio WNBA franchise and moved it to Las Vegas. The rebranded Las Vegas Aces begin play at Mandalay Bay Events Center later this month.

Mandalay Bay also stands as the closest resort to the new Raiders stadium being built directly across the interstate. Murren said Thursday he anticipates the resort being the prime destination for football fans before and after Raiders games.

Photo by Ron Cogswell used under license CC BY 2.0.

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Adam Candee

Adam Candee is the managing editor of Legal Sports Report. He covers sports business and news from Las Vegas, where he works as a sports radio host for ESPN and VSiN. Adam is a former editor and reporter at the Las Vegas Sun, Arizona Daily Sun, and KLAS-TV. He can be reached at [email protected]

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