Digital is the future. Online education, remote offices, online movie and video game streaming, ordering Pizza with Alexa are just some of the options that are becoming more prominent. While it doesn’t yet command as much attention as its land-based cousin, online casinos are gaining more traction and the iGaming segment continues to become stronger. MGM Resorts International is one of the few established land-based casino operators that has seen the future and it is apparently ready to embrace it completely. The company has huge plans to be a global iGaming leader and is starting to work toward achieving that goal.
MGM Guns for Global iGaming
The thought of MGM getting involved in iGaming isn’t a new concept – it has previously hinted about its aspirations to dedicate more resources to the segment. However, yesterday, during the Bank of America Securities 2021 Gaming and Lodging Conference, CFO Jonathan Halkyard made it perfectly clear that digital gaming is the company’s end-game. As it continues to shed physical assets, MGM does so with the dedicated intent of replacing them with digital alternatives.
This doesn’t mean that MGM plans on exiting the land-based casino market completely, although it is certainly setting itself up to do so easily if it decides to go that route. According to Halkyard, “When I think about what this company needs to be, definitely the best-known brand, most trusted brand in gaming. Casual, high-end and hopefully in as many distribution points with the highest availability in [the US]. Then to the extent that it is regulated, online offerings internationally.”
MGM to Simplify Things
MGM is reportedly exploring how to introduce an omnichannel strategy that would span both land-based and online gaming segments. It would allow any customer, in any jurisdiction served and through either segment, to take advantage of the M life Rewards program to earn points that could be used at any of its physical or digital assets. This includes BetMGM, its online gaming platform, allowing the company to offer a seamless gaming experience for its customers, no matter where they are.
MGM continues to analyze its operational portfolio and make cuts where necessary. Halkyard added that a more simplified business model will be introduced in the next couple of years, which will allow it to focus more on its core gaming functions. The CFO explained, “MGM has in the past flirted with non-gaming instances of its brand and we have over the past six months, Bill (Hornbuckle, CEO) and I and some of the management team, been unwinding and shutting some of those investments. They’re all small but they take financial resources and management resources, so we’re getting out of those.”
MGM has started to unload a lot of its interest in land-based operations, including the sale of its MGP real estate investment trust to Vici Properties, the sale of its interest in three Vegas casinos – the Bellagio, Mandalay Bay and the MGM Grand – and most recently agreed to sell its interest in CityCenter. It still expects to be involved greatly in the Asian land-based gaming market, including in Japan, but is apparently ready to grab onto the inevitable future of gaming and become a global iGaming powerhouse.