The expansion of legal sports betting was recognized in the annual “Money & Power & Influence” issue of The Hockey News with executives and BetMGM earning high praise.
Among the magazine’s “Top 100 People of Power & Influence,” MGM Resorts CEO Bill Hornbuckle was ranked No. 45, three spots ahead of BetMGM CEO Adam Greenblatt, who was the subject of a Q&A feature in the magazine. MGM Resorts, and United Kingdom betting company Entain Plc., each own 50 percent of BetMGM, which is headquartered in New Jersey.
“We’re seeing the NHL betting market continuing to grow, ranking fourth in the United States and second in Canada,” Greenblatt said, noting BetMGM’s marketing efforts to attract NHL fans by using hockey legend Wayne Gretzky and current superstar Connor McDavid of the Edmonton Oilers in its promotional efforts.
“There is a spirit of authenticity in hockey fans in Canada, and we wanted to meet that passion by working with two all-time greats,” Greenblatt said.
McDavid earned a No. 8 listing in the Top 100 while Gretzky, who is also a studio analyst for the TNT network’s hockey coverage, was No. 61 on the list.
As for Hornbuckle, the magazine’s editors noted the company’s efforts to grow legal wagering in Canada, which launched last April.
“As sports betting becomes increasingly ubiquitous, MGM headlines the NHL’s punting partners,” the magazine wrote, utilizing the British term for gambling. “Getting notable names like Wayne Gretzky and Connor McDavid adds extra clout.”
BetMGM has sports betting partnerships with four NHL teams – Vegas Golden Knights, Detroit Red Wings, New York Rangers and Nashville Predators.
The company is not an outlier, however.
In a listing of teams’ top sponsors for advertising and promotions, 12 of the 32 franchises included sports betting companies, such as DraftKings, FanDuel and Caesars Sportsbook. Two of the Golden Knights’ top sponsors are Circa Sports and Caesars-owned William Hill.
Caesars, one of the top sponsors for the Washington Capitals, operates a Caesars-branded sportsbook as part of a tavern at the team’s Capital One Arena in Washington, D.C.
Other sports betting executives reaching the Top 100 were FanDuel CEO Amy Howe at No. 54 and Sportradar CEO Carsten Koerl at No. 58. Sportradar has a 10-year partnership with the NHL to provide the league statistics and data, as well as real-time player and puck tracking information that can be used by sports betting operators.