MGM Beats Caesars To The Punch In Mississippi Sports Betting
Gears are turning, folks! In a bit of good news/great news, MGM has beaten Caesars to the punch in Mississippi sports betting, though Caesars itself is moving full steam ahead in New Jersey. Oddly, Caesars has been playing things cautiously re its rollout of sports wagering at its properties in states that have legalized the activity, though that doesn’t mean they’re likely to get surpassed or otherwise suffer undue losses. That because, frankly, it doesn’t really matter exactly when any casino opens up its sportsbooks and sports betting lounges. The reality is that the customers are there – and will be there – regardless of the time it takes to get such services off the ground.
Still, there is some pride in being first out of the gate, and in Mississippi, MGM takes the prize. Tomorrow, August 1, 2018, MGM is launching sports wagering at two of its Mississippi properties: the Beau Rivage in Biloxi and the Gold Strike Casino Resort in Tunica.
Caesars Entertainment, on the other hand, has been a bit slower to the market, though its sports betting product – powered by OpenBet from Scientific Games – is just as hotly anticipated and should not suffer any reduced revenue in the medium term. Indeed, Caesars is on track to take its sports wagering products live in Mississippi sometime in the next couple of weeks, with a hard deadline being the start of the 2018-2019 NFL season in September.
One reason why Caesars has taken its time – it’s only just now opening up its sportsbooks in New Jersey, for example, putting it several weeks behind in the Garden State – is because of its approach. Instead of piecemealing together a sports betting lounge and then adding mobile portals to the product later on like most books are doing, Caesars has been planning to roll out their entire suite of sports betting products all at once. This means that once Caesars properties in New Jersey go live with their on-site betting lounges, they will also offer statewide online sports betting solutions (via mobile web and iPhone/Android apps) to their customers from day one.
In the case of New Jersey, those who download the Caesar’s Casino and Sports mobile app will be able to wager immediately when the company’s land-based NJ casinos (Caesars, Harrah’s, Bally’s) take their sportsbooks live. Additionally, when Caesars’ Mississippi properties (the Horseshoe, Harrah’s), launch their sports wagering services, mobile betting will be available to on-site customers (though unlike in New Jersey, MS laws do not yet allow for online sports betting statewide, so gamblers will be limited to online betting only while on casino property).
In many ways, Caesars’ approach makes more sense than the ASAP dealings of other brands to date. Brands that launch on-site sportsbooks and betting lounges without online or mobile components – even those limited to the properties themselves – do not immediately address the single pressing concern that US-based sportsbooks now share: offshore sportsbook competition in the form of sites like Bovada, SportsBetting, 5Dimes, BetOnline, and several other top brands.
Because Caesars will have mobile online experiences from the start, many users will be prompted to cash out of their offshore betting accounts right away, bringing that money back to the US and depositing it into their legal local books via those books’ online options. Caesars, then, has actually waited a few weeks compared to its closest rivals, but in doing so, they’ll be launching a comprehensive, multimedia mode of sports wagering that other brands can’t yet match.
And while a few weeks of lead time in the physical casino world isn’t too much of a head start, a few weeks of lead time when it comes to online mobile betting is a night-and-day difference. The mindshare of mobile “firsts” is incredibly valuable, and even though Caesars seems late to the party, the way they’re rolling out their products should put them in the driver’s seat for sports betting in Mississippi.
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