MGM, Yahoo Partnership Builds With New Jersey Launch

    • With partnership, MGM receives direct access to 60 million Yahoo users.
    • MGM views sports betting as a funnel to rest of the company's portfolio.
    • Yahoo benefits include live broadcast capabilities from MGM properties during major sporting events.

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Photo Credit: Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

The Yahoo Sports integration of BetMGM is officially off the ground.

Starting November 14, Yahoo Sports app users in New Jersey can place bets by clicking on the stated odds, which will move them through to the BetMGM platform. 

The partnership and rollout of the Yahoo integration is the latest step in MGM’s desire to create a “quality and comprehensive interactive platform,” said Scott Butera, MGM president of interactive gaming.

“We believe in appealing through quality and breadth of product as opposed to spending a ton on advertising and promotion, which we still do, but it’s much better with a great product,” Butera said. “We believe watching and experiencing sports works well with transacting with sports and tying in sports content is a natural fit.”

“We’re committed to that and excited about Yahoo, they feel the same way.”

Butera said the partnership lines up well with other “strategic partnerships” in sports, including teams and leagues. MGM has league partnership deals with the NBA, MLB, NHL and MLS.

MGM’s sports involvement also includes the efforts to support the NHL’s Vegas Golden Knights and the company’s ownership of the WNBA’s Las Vegas Aces.

The multi-year partnership between Yahoo’s parent company Verizon Media and MGM Resorts and Roar Digital was announced on October 28. The partnership makes Yahoo Sports the digital media sports partner of MGM Resorts.

In the initial announcement, MGM CEO Jim Murren said the partnership “uniquely positions us to drive market share and large-scale adoption among sports fans.”

An exciting aspect for MGM is the access to 60 million Yahoo Sports monthly app users. While the betting is limited at first to New Jersey, there’s plenty of growth potential as additional markets open up, Butera said.

Butera said Nevada and Mississippi will likely be the next markets to open up shortly, and there are market-access agreements with 10 other states. In states without legalized betting, there will still be options, including the visible betting overlays and play-for-fun options. It’s all an effort to reach all Yahoo users.

Of particular note is around Yahoo Fantasy Football, which experiences more than 9 billion user minutes each year from 13 million users. Yahoo Sports also has had 68% year-over-year growth in U.S. mobile app visitors.

“We get to bring the MGM brand into that system,” Butera said. “If you have Tom Brady on your fantasy team, you’ll likely want to bet the over he’ll throw one-and-half touchdowns.”

Butera declined to speak to what would be considered a successful capture rate of the Yahoo users but said: “there’s significant opportunity to capture a lot” of the 60 million. Butera said sports fans, particularly fantasy players, are often likely to further engage with sports through betting.

He also said while sports betting is a business opportunity itself, it offers a nice portal to the entire MGM Resorts business portfolio, including resorts, restaurants, and other gambling options.

“[Sports fans are] very active people,” Butera said. “We expect they’ll bet on sports, but also participate in other areas of the MGM echo chamber.”

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As the partnership truly gets off the ground, Butera said education will play a major part in content produced around the product.

“The whole sports betting evolution is based on training people and getting them to understand how it works,” he said.

For Yahoo, beyond offering another aspect of user engagement, the company’s content will be displayed throughout MGM properties and to the 30 million MLife loyalty club members.

 Additionally, Yahoo Sports will broadcast from MGM properties 20 times a year during live sporting events, like the Super Bowl, World Series, Final Four, and major golf and tennis tournaments.

“At Yahoo we are always looking at ways to reimagine and shape what the future looks like,” Verizon Media CEO Guru Gowrappan said in a statement to FOS. “We believe this is an untapped opportunity in the industry – and by combining Yahoo’s leadership in digital sports with BetMGM’s world-class betting platform, we’re uniquely positioned to drive market share and large-scale adoption among sports fans.”