MGM battles Entain as BetMGM launches in UK on LeoVegas tech

Lions fighting
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MGM Resorts has signaled its strong intent to take on European markets after announcing the launch of BetMGM in the UK. 

BetMGM will cross the Atlantic for the first time but will not use the Entain platform, instead utilizing the LeoVegas tech stack that MGM acquired as part of its takeover of the Swedish operator in 2022. 

Consequently, MGM will be a direct competitor of Entain on its home soil, where the London-headquartered firm operates the Ladbrokes and Coral brands of retail and online sportsbooks. Both brands are household names in the UK with high visibility on high streets and online app stores.

“BetMGM is a proven brand in the sports betting and igaming space, and we look forward to welcoming international players into our platforms designed specifically for them,” said MGM Resorts CEO and President Bill Hornbuckle

“Today’s announcement represents a key step forward in our international growth strategy, which has been advancing rapidly since our acquisition of LeoVegas.”

The sportsbook and online casino platform has launched on desktop and mobile web platforms, with an app set to launch alongside its national media launch in September. 

BetMGM has enjoyed plenty of success in the US as the online casino market leader with 27% market share, whilst it recorded a profitable quarter in Q2. Both MGM Resorts and Entain hope for a profitable second half of the year. 

It remains to be seen how the brand will translate to a British audience, particularly given Entain’s established brands. But perhaps more interestingly, it will raise more questions about the long-term future of the joint venture given the brands will be competing with one another. 

In the past, particularly in 2021, MGM has attempted to buy Entain outright but after those bids were rejected, the US-listed firm has reneged on its interest in acquiring its JV partner and instead buying LeoVegas for its European expansion. 

Yet, this move will cast doubt on the future of the venture as MGM seeks to become a player on the European stage. Bill Hornbuckle recently criticized the BetMGM product in the US, saying it was “not where we want it to be”, so it is perhaps unsurprising that it has deployed the LeoVegas product in the UK, notwithstanding the Swedish firm’s long-standing history in European markets.

It is worth noting that the BetMGM platform in the US and Ontario will remain unchanged and that it will remain on the Entain platform. Entain recently purchased Angstrom Sports to boost the BetMGM product in the US. 

“We’ve had great success in the US and Canada with our BetMGM brand and we’re confident we can duplicate this success in other markets, beginning with the UK,” said Gary Fritz, President, MGM Resorts International Interactive. 

“The UK is a mature online gaming market, and we believe the BetMGM brand will provide distinct relevance to both sports bettors and igaming consumers.”