Borgata AC owner MGM Resorts International has officially tossed its hat into the New Jersey online casino arena. Sometime in 2017, it will be launching an online casino and online poker site under the playMGM brand.
MGM will be taking on GVC Holdings as its online gambling partner, which doesn’t come as much of a surprise, given that GVC supplies the software for and operates both Borgata Casino and Party Casino in New Jersey.
Given just how many NJ online casinos have penetrated the market — at last count there were 14 — there aren’t too many non-Atlantic City brands that could realistically carve out a sizeable niche in the industry.
MGM Resorts, which is arguably the biggest name in US casino gambling, is one exception.
When will playMGM launch in New Jersey?
We are projecting that playMGM will launch in the third quarter of 2017.
Regulatory delays could push that launch date back. However, given that MGM already holds a license in New Jersey and that the underlying gaming platform is already operational in the NJ online gambling market, we believe the third quarter is a reasonable target for MGM to offer real money a playMGM.
Here’s a look at what a playMGM NJ online gambling site might look like.
playMGM welcome package
In order to draw traffic to is site, we do expect playMGM online casino to offer some sort of welcome package. Most likely, the constituents of this package will mirror those found on other sites. Namely, we’ll see a small sign-up, or no-deposit bonus, and a big first-time deposit match.
PlayMGM could go an alternative route: perhaps it will offer a smaller match coupled with low wagering requirements, or maybe even a cash refund on losses incurred on a player’s first deposit, like Virgin Casino does.
Regardless, the launch of playMGM online casino should prove a good opportunity for players to cash in on yet another welcome package.
playMGM online casino NJ platform
Given its ties to GVC Holdings, we’re assuming that the playMGM platform will be the same one utilized by Borgata Casino. However, that doesn’t mean the two sites will be identical.
First off, playMGM will feature MGM branding. It may also boast somewhat different games, and will almost certainly feature a larger game library than Borgata did at launch, as NJ operators have forged a number of relationships with top-flight game suppliers since.
A unique integrated rewards scheme is also on the table.
Borgata offers a browser-based, downloadable, and mobile version of its software, and we expect playMGM to go the same route.
Will playMGM launch a mobile casino app?
It would be missing out on a golden opportunity if it didn’t. The fact is, mobile has advanced by leaps and bounds since the NJ online casino industry launched in 2013. Today’s apps feature more games, better stability, and are chock full of account management and quality-of-life options.
Should playMGM online casino launch an Android and iOS compatible version of its software on Day One — and we expect it will — it’ll be better able to capture new customers during the crucial launch phase.
Game selection at playMGM online casino
PlayMGM will likely offer the following game types:
- Slots: This one is a given, and we expect slots to comprise the vast majority of playMGM’s 300+ games expected at launch. The word is that playMGM will also be supporting progressive jackpot slots, although we wonder if they’ll be linked to those found on Borgata Casino.
- Video poker: Single and multi-line variants of popular titles like Double Double Bonus and Bonus Poker.
- Table games: Blackjack and roulette are near certainties, and probably a few carnival games like Three Card Poker, Let it Ride, and Texas Hold’em Bonus.
- Bingo: 75- and 90-Ball Bingo are growing in popularity in New Jersey, so it wouldn’t be unheard of for playMGM to launch its own variant.
playMGM online casino promotions
The vast majority of NJ online casino sites offer either recurrent or one-off promotions, or some combination of both. Borgata Casino is particularly active on the tournament front, so we do expect playMGM online casino to follow suit.
With regard to loyalty programs, MGM has an enviable opportunity here, and it looks to be taking advantage.
What we know so far is that playMGM customers will benefit from the MGM’s M life Rewards program, as the program will be integrated into the GVC client. Other details on how the program, which was also MGM added Borgata AC to M life, will work are currently unknown.
But if we had to guess, expect a multi-tier loyalty system where players can spend their points on the online site, or convert them to points for use at any MGM affiliated land-based casino — similar to how Total Rewards integration works on Caesars Casino, and other Caesars’ online sites.
How will cashiering at playMGM online casino work?
As a latecomer to the NJ online casino party, playMGM will be able to take advantage of the many advances in payment methods that the industry has made over the years.
We expect an abundance of payment options at launch, similar to what Borgata Casino offers now:
- Instant eChecks (ACH)
- Online banking transfers
- Visa/MasterCard debit and credit cards
- A prepaid card option
- 7-Eleven PayNearMe
- Cash @ the Borgata AC casino cage
PlayMGM could go a step further, implementing PayPal, and wire transfers at launch
PlayMGM online casino customer support
Typically, NJ online casinos offer the following three customer support vehicles, and there’s little reason to suspect playMGM online casino will deviate from this formula.
- Live chat: Immediate response times, often 24/7
- Phone: Instantaneous response times, access to management
- Email: Slower response times, but 24/7
How will playMGM Casino impact the market?
With locations in Las Vegas, Massachusetts, Maryland, and now New Jersey, MGM Resorts International is a highly recognizable casino brand.
PlayMGM won’t be an Atlantic City branded site, but it’s the next best thing — and historically, brands with strong name recognition get off to a strong start in the NJ online casino market.
Also working in playMGM’s favor is that it will likely complement its desktop client with a strong mobile product, and offer a vast array of gaming options right from the get.
Of course, it helps that players should have no difficulties making deposits during the critical launch phase — a claim many NJ online casinos couldn’t boast.
As for the long-term, that’s more questionable. Certainly, there’s room for latecomers, as Pala Casino and Play SugarHouse have already proven. But the problem is, the GVC platform is somewhat lacking, and the inferiority of the client has likely contributed to Borgata’s relatively stagnant performance in the online casino space.
So there does exist a scenario where playMGM gets off hot — much like Borgata Casino did — but fails to procure additional market share over the ensuring months and years.
Of course, one software upgrade could turn that scenario on its head.
Time will ultimately dictate the narrative, but one thing is for certain: playMGM online casino has words of potential.