MGM gaming executive expects in-stadium sports betting

12 October 2018

MGM’s online gaming chief Scott Butera has said US sports venues should consider introducing in-venue betting services for fans in order to capitalise on the expanding, regulated market.

Butera, who took over as MGM’s president of interactive gaming in June, said he has already held talks with a number of leagues and individual teams about linking up with the firm.

MGM in July linked up with the National Basketball Association (NBA) in a landmark deal that marked the first such partnership between a gambling company and a major US sports league.

A number of other firms have since followed suit, with William Hill US signing a deal with NHL ice hockey team. The American Gaming Association (AGA) recently published figures that show the NFL could benefit by $2.3bn (£1.8bn/€2bn) per year if it embraces the sports betting market.

Butera, formerly president of the Arena Football League, said he is keen for the sporting world to embrace sports betting, saying that sports fans are the “most robust customer” when it comes to this type of wagering.

“The conversion rate from sports fan to sports bettor is very high; that’s your most robust customer,” Butera said, according to Bloomberg.

“There’s a lot of interest in sports betting. Figuring out how it unfolds is the question. I’m in it every day, and it’s going to be an evolution.”

In order for sports venues to add on-site betting facilities, the state in which they are located will need to legalise sports wagering and for such laws to cover sporting arenas and stadia.

Earlier this month, the Dover International Speedway in Delaware set a market first when it opened on-site betting facilities for fans. Nascar, the North American stock car-racing series that features at the track, has since said it will introduce some form of gambling rules from next season.

Meanwhile, MGM has appointed George Kliavkoff as president of entertainment and sports.

Kliavkoff will now drive the firm’s entertainment and sports operations, with a remit to develop and maintain partnerships within the industry.

In addition, Kliavkoff will be responsible for the operations, finance, strategy, booking, marketing, sponsorships and ticketing for all MGM venues.

Kliavkoff’s appointment comes after Richard Sturm opted to stand down from the role in order to set up a new company. However, Sturm will retain a close relationship with MGM, having agreed a constancy deal between MGM and his new business Las Vegas Live Entertainment and Sports.

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