By now, it’s no secret that iGaming and mobile sports betting are perhaps the two most important gaming markets to watch moving forward.
As more states continue to come online, every operator is either developing or launching their own platforms, but the major players have separated themselves from the pack. Among the needle-movers is BetMGM, whose CEO, Adam Greenblatt, has seen his company transform completely over the course of his four-year tenure thus far.
Having cut his teeth as a gaming-focused mergers-and-acquisitions banker for Rothschild, Greenblatt learned early on in his career “what motivates professionals and how decision-making works in business,” which, as he’s moved up the corporate ladder, has “become incredibly important, when you consider things like stakeholder management, asset allocation, setting strategy,” and everything else that C-level duties entail.
Not only that, but the years he spent analyzing the industry from an outside perspective have proved invaluable during his time at BetMGM, because it’s always beneficial to “have history and context of the industry and the journeys of the more mature markets.” This knowledge then allows the company to “speed up decision-making and to avoid repeating some of the errors of the past.”
Despite the fact Greenblatt has only been at the helm since late 2018, it’s been a busy journey, one that “feels like those Star Trek scenes where the spaceship goes into hyperspeed and the stars start flashing past.” He says that his first major test was “winning the acceptance and trust of MGM Resorts” and establishing himself “as a credible leader.”
BetMGM is a joint venture of MGM and London-based Entain Holdings—Greenblatt came from the international side, and naturally, it took a little time for everyone to coalesce, but he feels that “the relationships couldn’t be better today.” Employee feedback is a crucial part of the company’s outlook, and Greenblatt says the results from the most recent poll indicated that 93 percent of staff would recommend the company to others.
Expansion is a critical component for digital operators such as BetMGM, and that’s no simple task when it comes to compliance, as markets vary widely when it comes to iGaming and sports betting.
“What we appreciate very deeply at BetMGM is that gaming licenses are a privilege, not a right,” says Greenblatt. “And so we organize ourselves around a compliance-first mentality. We have to get it right. We want to do things by the book. And I think that’s very, very important to ensure sustainability of the business and the relevance, therefore, of BetMGM.”
With a recent launch in Ontario, the company now operates in 24 states and 25 jurisdictions, in over 20 different countries, but the process and dedication remains the same, “because every state is difficult and new,” Greenblatt says.
While its sports betting arm remains robust, BetMGM has also become “the far and away market leader in iGaming,” which has not expanded nearly as quickly in the U.S. as it has internationally. The reason for this, says Greenblatt, is “a more complex stakeholder environment,” and also an “outdated” fear that iGaming expansion “would spell the end” of the land-based industry. Greenblatt, who considers himself “a free marketeer,” is steadfast in his belief that “protectionism over time doesn’t sustain,” and only serves to drive bettors to unregulated markets, which then affects the industry as a whole.
As for 2023, the company is looking ahead to early sports betting launches in Ohio and Massachusetts, as well as a digital offering in Puerto Rico sometime during the course of the year. Additionally, Greenblatt is excited about the “unification of progressive jackpots” and the opportunity to “really bring omnichannel to life.”
“We’ve got some, very exciting, very cool cross-channel games and concepts coming through our iGaming business, things like dual-play where events that are taking place in MGM’s physical environment or broadcast and playable in a digital environment, only at BetMGM, interesting new concepts that create a degree of excitement and differentiation in both channels,” he says.
“Today, the biggest jackpots in online gaming in the U.S. are already available right now. What we want to do is connect it with progressive jackpots in MGM Resorts’ land-based world to create state lottery-sized jackpot potential, again, only available at BetMGM. And it’s enabled by the fact that MGM is the superpower that it is, and in the online gaming space, BetMGM is that too. That’s what we’re quite excited about.”