MGM Gets New CFO

MGM Resorts International recently named a new chief financial officer as it prepares its takeover of Entain for an estimated $11 billion as we’ve covered here. Entain is a well-known gambling firm that is situated in the UK. The new CFO, Jonathan Halkyard, is already settling into his new role at MGM Resorts.

Halkyard has succeeded Corey Sanders, who was recently promoted to MGM’s chief operating officer after serving almost 2 years as CFO.  Halkyard has acquired a wealth of experience in his former role as president and chief executive of Extended Stay America, a well-known hotel company. In his new position as CFO, Halkyard will be responsible for overseeing the financial expansion of MGM into the sports and online gambling market. 

He will be in charge of MGM Resort’s financial activities domestically and internationally. Halkyard has a tough job ahead even as the vaccine continues to make its way to the population and as infection cases continue to rise. Like all operators, MGM Resorts has been forced to adjust its operations to meet the challenges that have been brought on by the pandemic.

When and if the Entain acquisition deal is finalized, Halkyard will also ensure that the integration between the 2 firms is seamless. Entain, currently owns the Ladbrokes brand, which is also one of the most recognized names in the UK gaming sphere. If this deal is finalized successfully, MGM Resorts will be on its way to becoming the largest gambling companies in the world, boasting a considerable online and brick and mortar presence.

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BetMGM has never been more serious about expansion

BetMGM like most other operators is looking to cash in on the rapidly expanding sports wagering market. In line with its expansion plans, MGM Resorts recently launched its sports wagering app in Iowa in partnership with Diamond Joe Casino. BetMGM has made it clear that its intentions to proceed with expanding its presence in the country will continue this year.

The BetMGM app is currently available in several states including New Jersey, West Virginia, Colorado, Indiana, and Pennsylvania. Sports wagering has been growing rapidly ever since the Supreme Court legalized the industry in 2018. MGM Resorts has been actively pursuing every opportunity available and this will not slow down in 2021.

BetMGM is so focused on the expansion that it recently announced the 2nd round of investments in the brand. Together with GVC Holdings, BetMGM has added an extra $450 million to the first round of $200 million that was invested earlier on. Since BetMGM launched in 2018 the company has done incredibly well, managing to find its way to 11 states by the end of 2020.

The company’s shares have also been performing well having surged more than 77% in the last 6 months. MGM Resorts, which is currently competing with other shares the likes of Wynn Resorts, Las Vegas Sands Corp, and Boyd Gaming Corporation is a great pick for many stockholders primarily because of the company’s continued plans for expansion.

Despite the challenges brought forward by the pandemic, MGM has emerged as an industry leader in sports wagering as we’ve covered here. This has largely been fueled by its strategic partnerships with various professional sports leagues, media companies, and houses, as well as its best in class mobile technology that’s powered by Roar Digital and GVC (which is now referred to as Entain). Case in point, BetMGM recently recruited Hockey Hall of Famer and 3 time Stanley Cup champion Chris Chelios as its brand ambassador in a bid to increase its subscription numbers.

Beyond its vibrant sports betting offerings, BetMGM has continued to offer new and exciting amenities at its properties and retail sportsbooks. The flexibility that the brand offers customers is another big reason that it will continue to succeed. Currently, BetMGM allows customers to carry out transactions from their phones, in person at a sportsbook, or from any available gaming kiosk.

As more and more states continue to legalize sports betting, operators like BetMGM that has been in business for some time now stand to gain a lot. However, so do its competitors such as Penn National Gaming and Caesars Entertainment. Furthermore, even though BetMGM is well-positioned to beat out its competition, it still has a lot of work to do if it has any hopes of catching up with sports gambling specialists DraftKings and FanDuel.

The good news is that things are looking favorable this year as the vaccine rollout continues across the country. By the time the vaccine gets to the general population, hopefully, visitors in the retail sportsbooks and casinos will have increased significantly. 

With the online gambling market slated to reach $127.3 billion by 2027, it is no wonder that MGM Resorts is doing everything it can to stand out in the highly competitive sports betting market. So far, so good.

 

Final thoughts

Like its peers and competitors, MGM has been under immense pressure to keep its head above water as its largest revenue generators, mainly physical casinos and hotels in the Strip remains closed for much of the year. Even after resuming operations, brick and mortar casinos have only been able to do so under strict regulations and social distancing guidelines, which have made it impossible to generate the kind of revenue that the brand was generating pre-pandemic.

Hopefully, this new partnership agreement with Entain will give MGM Resorts the momentum it needs to keep moving in the wake of these challenges. As the vaccine continues to reach the general population, more and more people should start returning to brick and mortar institutions, which will further aid MGM’s expansion plans.

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