MGM Resorts International (NYSE:MGM) is one of the largest operators of land-based casinos in the world, managing some of the most well-known venues on the Las Vegas Strip and elsewhere. But it’s internet gaming and sports wagering that has some analysts aflutter.
MGM stock is up 29.32 percent year-to-date, good for one of the best performances among large-cap gaming equities. It’s a sign that investors are buying into the notion that the BetMGM business is a force to be reckoned with in the iGaming and sports betting spaces. On Wednesday, the operator said it expects the US and Canadian online casinos and sports wagering markets will eventually be worth $32 billion, and that it’s aiming for a 20 percent to 25 percent slice of that pie.
Analysts are embracing that outlook, with some saying BetMGM will be a significant driver of long-term returns for the gaming company. The unit is a 50/50 joint venture between the Mandalay bay operator and UK-based Entain Plc (OTC:GMVHY).
The company has compiled all of the pieces of the puzzle, including a veteran management team, a multi-dimensional customer acquisition funnel, scalable proprietary technology, vast market access, and a global brand to throw it all behind,” said Union Gaming analyst John DeCree in a note.
He rates MGM stock a “buy,” with a $52 price target, up from $45. That implies upside potential of 27 percent.
Currently, BetMGM is number three in the US online sports wagering market, behind Flutter Entertainment’s FanDuel unit and DraftKings.
However, data suggest BetMGM is coming on strong, pilfering market share from rivals in key states. Leveraging superior branding by way of its well-known brick-and-mortar casinos, BetMGM is also ascending in the iGaming arena. That’s relevant to the MGM stock thesis, because industry insiders believe online casinos, while overlooked today, will deliver better margins and higher profits than sports wagering.
“The message from yesterday’s investor presentation can be best summed up in the Michigan case study, where BetMGM emerged as the market leader in both sports betting and iGaming by leveraging an existing retail presence and M life database via MGM Grand Detroit, affiliations with local professional sports teams, air support from key media partnerships,” adds DeCree.
The operator’s media partners include The Athletic and Yahoo! Sports.
BetMGM’s growth is stunning on a percentage basis. As Morningstar analyst Dan Wasiolek notes, the company’s iGaming and online sports betting market in the US was around 10 percent last fall, and is now up to the 20 percent area.
“We attribute these gains to the entity’s omnichannel presence, which includes 35 million MGM loyalty members, strong media (like Yahoo! Sports) and sports partnerships, aiding new membership, and robust analytic capabilities, supporting positive user experience and retention,” said the analyst.
He sees BetMGM expanding to 20 states over the next year from 12 today, with that number reaching 24 over the long-term. If that last number is reached, the operator would be in front of nearly two-thirds of the US sports wagering population.