One of the most popular men’s magazine brands is making a foray into the online gambling business. MaximBet casino and sportsbook should launch in New Jersey later this year. It will be interesting to see if the brand has enough power to overcome its late entry into the market.
The Carousel Group announced its partnership with the media company Monday. The potential rebrand of its online gambling platform is an interesting strategy. However, it might have been necessary to move forward.
The details on MaximBet online casino and sportsbook
According to a press release, the Carousel Group and Maxim plan to push the gambling product through the media channels. Besides the print magazine, Maxim produces digital content through a variety of mediums. Across all its verticals, it counts millions of subscribers.
Maxim brings robust marketing channels to the table. Carousel brings gambling products. Back in February, Carousel announced a market access deal with Caesars to launch its online sportsbook in the Garden State. The same partnership would apply for its online casino product.
Before this announcement, the expectation was that its aptly named SportsBetting.com brand would eventually go live in New Jersey.
That will not be the case now, however. MaximBet will replace SportsBetting.com. The plans to forge forward with a website along with Android and iOS apps remain unchanged. It’s unclear whether those properties will be new forums for Maxim magazine content.
The release doesn’t include any specific timeline for a launch for MaximBet in any market. Carousel is live in Colorado, but still needs regulatory clearance in Indiana, and Iowa, on the sportsbook side. None of those states currently allow online casino play.
True to the industry, going with the Maxim brand is a gamble for Carousel. The current branding has some upside to it.
Power of search vs. targeted marketing
When it comes to having a brand that’s easy for consumers to find, one of the best strategies is to put the name of the product or service right in the company name. In that interest in regards to sports betting, it’s hard to beat SportsBetting.com.
Should Carousel scrap that branding and go with MaximBet instead, at least initially, it’s sacrificing the traffic that organic and paid search could bring. Far fewer people are likely to search for MaximBet when looking for an online sportsbook.
In order for that move to pay off, MaximBet will have to experience a high rate of conversion from Maxim content consumers to regular gamblers. It’s also worth noting that MaximBet doesn’t exclude online casino play in its name.
There’s no denying that Maxim’s audience is the exact demographic that Carousel wants to reach. The doubt comes in around whether even a high rate of conversion among Maxim consumers will allow Carousel to gain a foothold in NJ.
NJ is the most mature online gambling market in the US. It is not only loaded with options but most of MaximBet’s predecessors have years of experience there. That may be why it was necessary to take on a partner with a ready-made marketing arm.
Funding for Carousel attached to MaximBet
The release also mentions a Series A investment round of $50 million from xSigma Entertainment Limited. The wording of the statement says it all.
“xSigma is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Nasdaq listed ZKIN International Group, a diversified and innovative, tech-forward company that is pleased to act as a capital partner to MaximBet.”
That doesn’t definitively state that the funding was tied to Carousel’s partnership with Maxim. It does suggest that the funds will be used to take the product live, however. It’s possible that in order to close the investment, Carousel had to belay fears that it was too late in the game to grab a significant share of the market.
Employing Maxim’s advertising strength may have been what Carousel used to seal the deal. Now everyone involved waits to see if Maxim can deliver regular gamblers to Carousel, or if sticking with SportsBetting.com would have been the better play.