Call it a partnership on spec, if you will. MGM GVC Interactive LLC announced on Monday that it has formed a sports betting partnership with the United Auburn Indian Community (UAIC) of California. The Tribe owns the Thunder Valley Casino Resort in Lincoln, just north of Sacramento.
This could be big news, but “could” is the operative word there, as sports betting has not been legalized in California. Thus, this deal between the two entities has the distinct possibility of never resulting in anything at all.
But because the United States Supreme Court overturned the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (PASPA) in May, sports betting could become a reality in California, as it is now up to the states as to whether or not they want to legalize the pastime. Sports betting has already been legalized in New Jersey, Delaware, Mississippi, West Virginia, and Rhode Island. Other states, including Pennsylvania, are expected to get the ball rolling soon.
“It is not yet clear if California will authorize sports betting or interactive games generally, but with the overturn of PASPA possibly opening the door for sports betting, our Tribe wants to be well situated and this agreement with the national leader in the field does just that,” said Gene Whitehouse, Chairman of UAIC, in a press release, admitting that this could be pointless.
MGM GVC Interactive was formed in a joint venture between, you guessed it, MGM and GVC Holdings, back in July. Casual gamblers may not know GVC by name, but they would know its brands: partypoker, bwin, Sportingbet, Ladbrokes, and Coral. MGM said of the combination:
The new venture will have exclusive access to all U.S. land-based and online sports betting, online real money and free-to-play casino gaming, major tournament and online poker, and other similar future interactive businesses – facilitating entry into multiple digital gaming verticals under the playMGM and partypoker headline brands. The venture will also allow for full integration between the MGM Resorts and GVC loyalty programs, enhancing the user experience and value proposition for existing and future customers.
The deal with UAIC would have MGM-GVC provide its brand and technology to the Tribe for it to offer brick-and-mortar and mobile sports betting. Online casino games and online poker are also part of the agreement, but again, all of it is dependent on any of those things becoming legal in California.
The day after MGM announced the partnership with GVC, it announced that it had become the official sports betting partner of the NBA and WNBA. Needless to say, that could be good for UAIC if sports betting becomes legal in California.
“We greatly admire the success the UAIC has had with its Thunder Valley Casino Resort, and look forward to adding to that success,” said Adam Greenblatt, GVC Director of Corporate Development and Strategy. “The potential of this partnership is significant for MGM-GVC.”