Caesars, MGM race to cash in

LAS VEGAS — Two titans of the casino industry are racing to cash in on the newly created U.S. sports betting market, taking steps to expand their footprint and strengthen their positions as more states approve necessary regulations and people become more interested in legally gambling on pro and college sports.

MGM Resorts International reached separate agreements Monday with a European bookmaker and a U.S.-based regional casino operator that will give it technological expertise and market access in several states where it doesn’t already operate casino-resorts. Meanwhile, Caesars Entertainment opened the sports book at one of its New Jersey casinos and will do the same Wednesday at another property.

The moves from the casino operators come more than two months after the U.S. Supreme Court cleared the way for all 50 states to offer legal sports betting, should they desire. The ruling has prompted deals among gambling and technology companies that want to get ahead in an industry expected to expand across the United States.

The first of two agreements MGM Resorts announced Monday is a joint venture with the United Kingdom-based owner of Ladbrokes, GVC Holdings, that will lead to the creation of a sports betting and online gambling platform in the U.S. The platform will include a mobile app and website with features like odds and highlights.

The separate agreement with Boyd Gaming Corp. opens markets for both companies, allowing them to offer sports betting and online wagering in 15 states where they operate casino-resorts. Boyd will give MGM access to Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana and other states pending the closure of planned casino purchases.

“We believe the joint venture deal is a net positive for both GVC and MGM as MGM gains the invaluable, and difficult to recreate technology platform and online expertise that GVC possesses in a cost efficient manner,” Deutsche Bank analyst Carlo Santarelli wrote in a note to investors.