MGM Resorts and GVC Holdings are venturing deeper into Indian Country in their hunt for sports betting partnerships.

MGM GVC

MGM Resorts and GVC want to lock up as many tribal deals as possible, regardless of whether the states have legalized sports betting or not. Indian gaming will one day be a huge segment of the US sports betting market. (Image: MGM Resorts International)

The two operators — collectively known as MGM GVC Interactive — announced Tuesday they had retained the services of California-based TFA Capital Partners, an investment banking firm focused on providing strategic and financial advisory services to Native American tribes.

In October, MGM GVC Interactive signed a deal to provide sports betting operations to the United Auburn Indian Community (UAIC) in the event that California legalizes sports betting.

MGM has realized that the route to dominance of the emerging US sports betting market lies in being not just an operator but also a supplier of sports book services and technology to casinos across the US.

More Than Half Land-Based Market is Tribal

Native American casinos will comprise a huge segment of a mature US sports betting market. According to National Indian Gaming Commission Statistics, in 2015, there were 474 Indian gaming facilities in the US, owned by 283 separate tribes across the country.

The latest statistics from the American Gaming Association show that are a similar number of commercial casinos in the US — 460, as of 2017.

In California alone, there are 55 tribal operators and 69 casinos, and MGM GVC wants to lock up those deals before its competitors do. While California is currently some way from legalizing sports betting, it is expected to do so within the next five years.

MGM Resorts’ President of Interactive Gaming, Scott Butera, said in an official statement that sports betting represented “a significant opportunity for both the Tribal Nations.”

Butera added that MGM GVC looked forward to working with TFA to “develop mutually beneficial relationships that offer the joint venture entry into new markets,” while “providing our tribal nation partners with additional capabilities and resources to drive incremental demand to their casino properties.”

Early Movers

MGM and GVC announced their partnership in July. Each company invested $100 million into the joint venture to help build “a world-class sports betting and online gaming platform” which would have “meaningful early mover advantages.”

GVC is the owner of Ladbrokes Coral, the UK’s biggest retail bookmaker, as well as the bwin, Sportingbet and partypoker brands.

According to Tuesday’s media release, the MGM GVC solution includes sports betting self-service kiosks, mobile sports betting products, marketing and operating consultation, premier odds setting/trading/risk management services, as well as employee training and operational readiness assessments.

It will also give its clients to access to the MGM brand and database, as well as the branding of MGM’s official sports betting partners, the NBA, MLB, and NHL.