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BetMGM to launch in the Netherlands following UK success

| By Nick Brown
Following its UK success, MGM Resorts has announced the launch of its BetMGM brand in the Netherlands, making it BetMGM's second European market.

The move marks a continued international expansion strategy for BetMGM, as outlined by owner MGM Resorts.

Utilising LeoVegas Group’s proprietary technology and and platform, the launch represents the second in Europe following the UK last year. LeoVegas was acquired by MGM Resorts in 2022 for $604m.

BetMGM’s new Netherlands offering is expected to mirror that of its UK offering, with a host of new features for players, such as frequent jackpots and loyalty rewards. Players can also avail themselves of new sports promotions and exclusive slots.

Latest international move for BetMGM by MGM Resorts

Gary Fritz, president of MGM Resorts International Interactive, sees the move as a key part of its international expansion.

“We are thrilled to launch BetMGM in the Netherlands and build on BetMGM’s successful expansion into global markets. The Dutch market offers an exciting opportunity. It will be an important part of our international expansion efforts and strategy to become a global gaming leader.”

Kambi has also confirmed that it will be powering the BetMGM Netherlands sportsbook. This is the result of an extended agreement dating with LeoVegas back to 2016. The latest partnership between the two was renewed in June last year.

As well as launching in the UK in 2023, MGM is building up its interactive capabilities in the wake of its LeoVegas purchase in 2022.

It also acquired games developer and aggregator Push Gaming in May 2023. The deal added an in-house slot studio to its portfolio. At the time, LeoVegas CEO Gustaf Hagman told iGB that it fits into the business’ strategy to own “a large part of the value chain in this industry”.

Discussing the Netherlands launch, Gustaf Hagman also added: “Our launch in the UK was tremendously successful. We eagerly anticipate bringing the golden Vegas experience to the Netherlands. This launch in the Dutch market is an important step in our international expansion, but we have much more in store.”

BetMGM launch in the UK to be replicated in the Netherlands?

The Dutch market arguably presents plenty of potential. The Netherlands regulator, Kansspelautoriteit (KSA) recently released its Spring 2024 online gambling report, providing an overview of the Dutch market.

In 2023, gross gaming revenue totalled €1.39bn (£1.19bn/€1.49bn). This represented an increase of 28% from €1.08bn in 2022.

The number of total player accounts also rose significantly in 2023. The KSA estimates that there are 1.1 million active accounts in the country. In total, it also estimates that 726,000 players are active with legal providers.

In an interview earlier this year, Sam Behar, BetMGM’s UK director, outlined the first few months of success for BetMGM in Europe. The company will no doubt look to replicate this again.

BetMGM has a hugely iconic brand in the US, boasting especially strong ties to Las Vegas, where the MGM Grand and Bellagio continue to flourish.

“It’s been an unbelievable first five months entering the UK – especially given the way we did,” Behar said in January 2024. “We had a unique ambition to make things work and we’ve certainly made a big splash, which is excellent. It’s fair to say punters really like our product, especially the Vegas experience that we’ve brought to the UK.”

An ostentatious advert, featuring comedian Chris Rock and a lion on a golden speedboat on the River Thames, marked BetMGM’s arrival in the UK.

Trouble brewing in the Netherlands

BetMGM will likely have a greater challenge when it comes to marketing promotions in the Netherlands, however.

A recent vote in parliament has ruled a total ban on gambling advertising. This follows the Netherlands’ untargeted advertising ban coming into effect on 1 July 2023. As a result, mass-advertising on radio, television, outdoor locations and written media were prohibited. Sports sponsorships are also included in the ban.

With sponsorship a key focus in BetMGM’s UK launch, and deals signed with the likes of Premier League clubs Manchester City, Wolves, Brighton, Aston Villa and Newcastle, the Netherlands will no doubt prove to be more challenging.

As well as voting to ban all forms of advertising earlier this month, a bigger move by the Dutch house of representatives will present even more risk. The vote on 16 April also saw a vote to ban on all games of chance, or slots. The motion was brought forward by MP Derk Boswijk.

However, despite a majority in the house of representatives being in favour of such a ban, it will be another case to have this enshrined in law. It is now over to Franc Weerwind, the minister for legal protection in the Netherlands. His role will be to review and approve the law.

The Netherlands Online Gambling Association (NOGA) has hit back at the vote highlighting the risks of the black market.

NOGA labelled the moves “thoughtless and irresponsible”, while also warning Weerwind not to take irreversible decisions. Peter-Paul de Goeij, the director of NOGA, said: “The house is trying to force a decision based on wrong figures, assumptions and unrealistic fears.”

NOGA estimates that 90% of Netherlands’ players bet with legal providers. However, the association fears the new laws will drive bettors back into the illegal market.

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