MGM Resorts International has beefed up its internet presence in New Jersey, launching a pair of online gambling sites last week: playMGMpoker.com and playMGMcasino.com. The two sites made their “soft launch” on August 1st, meaning they had limited uptime while the company and state regulators made sure everything was going fine. The sites are now running full-bore, giving players in the Garden State more options for both online poker and online casino games. MGM has partnered with GVC Holdings to use GVC’s partypoker software for the online poker room.
You might wonder why I said that MGM has beefed up its presence when the online poker sites/networks in New Jersey are PokerStars, 888/WSOP, and Party Borgata, but no MGM. That is because last year, MGM bought Boyd Gaming Corporation’s stake in the Borgata (they shared it 50/50 previously) to become the casino’s full owner. Thus, MGM is the company in control of the Party Borgata network.
Naturally, playMGMpoker.com will be a part of the Party Borgata network, along with BorgataPoker.com and nj.PartyPoker.com.
“We are thrilled to be entering the online gaming landscape in New Jersey with the expansion of our playMGM.com platform to include both casino and poker games,” said Chief Operating Officer of MGM Resorts International Corey Sanders in a press release last Wednesday. “The ability to effectively bring Las Vegas to New Jersey via an online experience is an exciting undertaking, especially as we continue to develop our presence on the East Coast with the recent acquisition of Borgata, the opening of MGM National Harbor and the pending 2018 opening of MGM Springfield in Massachusetts.”
It is actually an interesting play here by MGM. It obviously already has the Party Borgata network, so adding another online poker room seems like a curious move. There is a real chance it could backfire and just cannibalize the other two sites on the network. Even if it is player-neutral, the added expenses in running playMGMpoker.com would make it a net negative.
At the same time, though, the idea here could be to use MGM’s brand name to grab some players from PokerStars and WSOP/888 as well as possibly grow the entire market by getting people who may have been interested in playing but never did to jump into the fray with MGM.
Additionally, playMGMpoker.com and playMGMcasino.com will be cross-promoting with MGM’s other properties, particularly the multitude of casinos in Las Vegas.
To kick it off, playMGMpoker.com is running a pretty solid promo for new players, offering $25 free with a real money deposit and virtually no playthrough requirement (there is one, but it’s minimal). $10 of the free money is just cash, while $15 is tournament money.
There is also a 100 percent deposit match up to $2,000. Now, while the percent is great, it is not as great. There is a fairly sizable playthrough requirement, the bonus is released in 10 percent increments, and players only have seven days to earn it. Those last couple parts make it tricky: deposit too much and the increments could end up so large that it is hard to unlock even one or two of them within a week.