BetMGM bringing Wheel of Fortune Casino to New Jersey

BetMGM has opted to buy a vowel. The gaming company inked a deal with Sony Pictures Television and IGT to turn one of America’s most popular game shows and slot titles into a branded online casino.

The three groups will work together to create and launch Wheel of Fortune Casino, the first full brand-led online casino in North America. It is also, to be frank, a bit of a no-brainer decision. The show is celebrating its 40th season on the airwaves and there are over 250 variations on the game available as slot titles. With such massive brand recognition and popularity, it makes sense to see if a brand alone can sell online casino to American customers.

“Wheel of Fortune is watched nightly by millions of people and BetMGM is honored to partner with Sony Pictures Television and IGT to bring this online casino experience to life. Once live, Wheel of Fortune Casino will offer players the excitement of their favorite gameshow and real money wagering in the palm of their hand,” said BetMGM Chief Revenue Officer Matt Prevost.

The online casino will deploy in New Jersey first, where BetMGM and more than two dozen other operators are already doing business. While Jersey is already a crowded and relatively mature market, it is a good opportunity to show proof of concept for Wheel of Fortune Casino. The audience there is already familiar with both online casino and online Wheel of Fortune titles, so it will be a good test to see if the appeal can draw in customers.

IGT’s CEO of Digital & Betting Enrico Drago spoke to the legacy of the game of the gambling space:

“We’re excited to celebrate the evolution of the IGT Wheel of Fortune slot brand with BetMGM and Sony Pictures Television through the launch of Wheel of Fortune Casino. The Wheel of Fortune brand has been synonymous with slot gaming for more than 25 years, and this unprecedented brand-led online casino, driven by BetMGM’s compelling platform and promotional capabilities, is well-positioned to engage and entertain new and long-time players. As part of our ongoing PlayDigital strategy, we will continue to look for new and exciting ways to leverage our third party and home-grown brands with our operating partners.”

BetMGM online casino is already operational in New Jersey. The Division of Gaming Enforcement in the state does not break down revenue by operators, but given the strong performance of the brands under the Borgata license, it is fair to assume BetMGM is one of the top performers in the space.

The deal is also the latest indication that online gambling in the US is becoming more mainstream. While sports betting gets the bulk of attention from mainstream media, leagues, and celebrities, even a studio as big as Sony can see the value in taking casino partnerships beyond slots licensing deals.

“We are delighted to be partnering with BetMGM for the launch of Wheel of Fortune’s very first online casino,” said EVP of Game Shows for Sony Suzanne Prete. “With Wheel of Fortune celebrating its 40th season this year, we are pleased to continue offering players additional, new ways to play the games they know and love.”

BetMGM CEO Adam Greenblatt spoke about the importance of sustainability in the company’s growth strategy at the Canadian Gaming Summit earlier this month. This announcement also comes hot on the heels of a new partnership with BetMGM and Carnival Cruises. These new announcements do seem to indicate that Greenblatt and others at BetMGM are thinking about more unconventional approaches to grow and maintain the business.