SBC Summit: BetMGM CEO Greenblatt resists any prohibitions against player prop bets

May 8, 2024 4:02 PM
Photo: CDC Gaming Reports
  • Rege Behe, CDC Gaming Reports
May 8, 2024 4:02 PM
  • Rege Behe, CDC Gaming Reports

During Wednesday’s panel “BetMGM: Taking a Preeminent Sports Betting and iGaming Brand to the Next Level Through Visionary Marketing Wednesday” at SBC Summit North America, BetMGM CEO Adam Greenblatt was asked by CNBC Correspondent Contessa Brewer if prop bets involving individual athletes were part of the operator’s strategy going forward.

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When Brewer mentioned the scandal that resulted from Toronto Raptors’s player Jontay Porter being banned from the NBA, Greenblatt emphasized the importance of addressing the issue.

But he didn’t condemn the wager type.

“I think the steps that we as an industry and our regulators and our league partners take on this will determine whether we’ll be successful in looking after our industry and our players,” Greenblatt said. “If we’re so naïve to believe that the under (wager regarding prop bets involving player statistics) isn’t available in the illegal market, then we’re misguided.”

Greenblatt added that addressing illegal markets and making it harder for funds to flow between bettors and offshore operators are essential.

When Brewer pressed him if he was comfortable with the integrity of single-game player parlays, Greenblatt replied he was. “I’m comfortable that the best way to make transparent all the activity in and around the game, which frankly is the only way to ensure integrity long term, is best achieved by regulated sports betting and strong partnerships among ourselves, teams, lawmakers, and regulators.”

When Brewer again pressed forward on the issue, noting that a New York legislator (Rep. Paul Tonko from Saratoga) is promoting federal legislation that would limit marketing, prop bets, and deposit frequencies and size, Greenblatt again deflected the question. He cited industry data and the promotion responsible gaming, while also making sure that underage wagering is prohibited.

Noting that sports betting is legal in “almost 40 states,” Greenblatt referred to Michigan where, according to him, BetMGM has paid “hundreds of millions of dollars” in taxes in recent years.

“What happens to that tax revenue for the state in the event of federal intervention?” Greenblatt asked. “We shouldn’t forget that the birth of our sector in the U.S. was enabled by the state of New Jersey telling the federal government to ‘get out of my shorts’ (a “Simpsons” reference). The reality is that gambling is a states-rights issue and that has been determined by the Supreme Court.”

Greenblatt also mentioned that Entain, which owns a 50% stake in BetMGM, appears to be on the right track now. Former Entain CEO Jette Nygaard-Andersen, who resigned earlier this year in the aftermath of a Turkish bribery scandal, was replaced by interim CEO Stella David, a non-executive director.

Brewer then mentioned that MGM is launching BetMGM in the UK and the Netherlands “outside of your BetMGM, not with Entain’s technology. How do you interpret that?”

Greenblatt responded, “Is this a roundabout way of asking if MGM is going to buy Entain?” He added, “MGM has declared their position for now.

“The position I’d like to get is BetMGM is the most valuable prize, the belle of the ball,” he said. “At that point, we have the luxury of options. I think in some ways as MGM Resorts builds its digital strategy alongside BetMGM, alongside Entain, dare I say it, the bigger the potential synergy in the future could get.”

Rege Behe is lead contributor to CDC Gaming Reports. He can be reached at rbehe@cdcgaming.com. Please follow @RegeBehe_exPTR on Twitter.