ONN – MGM Resorts Does NY Jets Partnership Why Not Las Vegas-Bound Oakland Raiders?
On Wednesday, Las Vegas-based MGM Resorts International announced a partnership in sports gaming with an NFL team: not the Oakland Raiders but the New York Jets.
It has been described by MGM Resorts as a “first-of-its-kind partnership making MGM Resorts the official gaming partner of the New York Jets. The multi-year agreement marks the most comprehensive and integrated gaming partnership in the National Football League (NFL) to date, promoting the global entertainment company’s best in class casino resorts as well as Play MGM’s online gaming platforms and mobile apps to millions of fans.”
“We are proud to partner with an iconic brand like MGM Resorts and its renowned properties to bring a world-class gaming and entertainment experience to our fans,” said Jets President Neil Glat. “This unique partnership also enables us to further engage our fans in the mobile and digital world.”
The MGM Resorts deal is said to provide Jets fans access to a mobile play-along predictive game “I Called It presented by Play MGM.” With MGM Resorts’ partnership, the enhanced Jets “I Called It” game will now include pre-play options, upgraded in-play features, expanded prizing, and deeper leaderboards featuring Jets fans. Available during both home and away Jets games, “I Called It” is free to play and is available in the Official New York Jets App.
Great, but why did MGM Resorts partner with the Jets and not the Oakland Raiders, who are Las Vegas-bound, and building a brand-new, state-of-the-art stadium with the University of Nevada Las Vegas?
Much has been made of the opportunity to move into what’s seen as a giant market for sports gaming and gambling. On May 14th, The U.S. Supreme Court struck down a 1992 federal law on Monday that effectively banned commercial sports betting.
Prior to that, and as far back as 2014, the Oakland Raiders were reportedly holding “secret” meetings with Las Vegas Sands officials and other experts on how to set up sports betting and sports gaming. Those meetings were said to have convinced Oakland Raiders Owner Mark Davis to move his team to Sin City.
While the Supreme Court actions means a team doesn’t have to be in Las Vegas to make a move into sports betting or something close to it like sports gaming. But, even with that, the Raiders are setting up shop in Las Vegas and Clark County – what happened that it wasn’t the first NFL team to have this partnership?
I have an email to the Raiders asking that very question, but speculatively, I wonder if the testy exchange between MGM Resorts International President Bill Hornbuckle and Raiders Stadium Construction executive Don Webb at the last Las Vegas Stadium Authority Meeting held some clue? At that gathering, Hornbuckle expressed displeasure with the Raiders Stadium Parking Plan, which he said left the casino entertainment firm “choked out.” Was that a window into tensions between the Raiders and the casino industry?
It almost seems like this statement from MGM Resorts Chairman & CEO Jim Murren might be some kind of slap in the face to the Raiders “We could not be more excited to join with the New York Jets for a first-of-its-kind partnership in the NFL. We look forward to working with the Jets to innovate gaming, increase our customer base through cross marketing opportunities and provide NFL fans with a one-of-a-kind entertainment experience.”
And it must be asked if Las Vegas Sands is working on a Jets-like deal of its own with the Oakland Raiders in Las Vegas? The question out there is this: is Sheldon Adelson still involved in the Raiders Las Vegas deal, even though he said he was out of it and planned to pull his intended $650 million investment on February 26th of 2017?
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