The New York Jets and MGM Resorts reached a multiyear gaming partnership late last month that integrates the casino company with the NFL franchise, but not everyone in the area is happy about it.
During the Jets game on Sunday against the visiting Buffalo Bills, an airplane circled MetLife Stadium with a banner that read, “SHAME ON JETS/MGM #ENDGUNVIOLENCE #STOPMGM.” MGM is the parent company to Mandalay Bay, the casino resort where gunman Stephen Paddock carried out the October 1, 2017, mass shooting that killed 58 people.
In a statement to the Associated Press, MGM Resorts said of Sunday’s airplane banner, “We wholeheartedly agree that our country needs to put an end to gun violence.”
The Bills won the game 41-10.
One aspect of the Jets and MGM partnership involves a game that can be played through the team’s mobile app that challenges users to correctly predict plays. The format, which is similar to in-game sports betting that is common in the UK, is contested for promotional prizes and not actual money.
The NFL changed its policy to allow teams to partner with casino companies after the Supreme Court repealed the federal sports betting ban in May. However, sports betting advertising remains barred.
MGM Unpopular in New York
MGM Resorts isn’t making a lot of friends in the New York metro.
The company’s decision this summer to sue 1,900 victims stemming from the October 1 shooting prompted one New York lawmaker to call for a blockage of MGM’s $850 million acquisition of the Empire City Casino in Yonkers. MGM said the lawsuit wasn’t to seek damages from the victims, but expedite the legal process by combining all the legal challenges into one case.
They should withdraw the lawsuit if they want to proceed, if they want to be in our community,” New York State Senator Shelley Mayer (D-Yonkers) said. “This is not a good way to begin their relationship with Yonkers, or frankly, the victims of gun violence.”
Last month, the United States Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation ruled that MGM’s attempt to combine numerous lawsuits into one federal case would not be permitted.
Social Media Backlash
The New York Jets’ decision to partner with MGM continues to generate criticism on social media.
New York State Sen. Kevin Parker (D-Brooklyn) tweeted, “I strongly disagree with @nyjets partnering with @MGMResortsIntl. The @MGMResortsIntl decision to sue the victims of the Mandalay Bay Shooting in Las Vegas is a complete disgrace! The @nyjets SHOULD NOT move forward #STOPMGM.”
Parker’s fellow State Senator Luis Sepulveda (D-Bronx) added, “Shame on the @nyjets for partnering with @MGMResortsIntl who decided to sue the victims of the Mandalay Bay Shooting in Las Vegas. I urge folks to boycott the team until they end the partnership. #StopMGM.”
No individual or group took credit for flying the airplane banner on Sunday.