96°F
weather icon Clear

MGM, Buffalo Wild Wings teaming up on sports gaming venture

Updated September 9, 2019 - 6:19 pm

MGM Resorts International is looking to bring sports gaming experiences to Buffalo Wild Wings restaurants nationwide.

MGM and Road Digital, its sports betting venture, will be working alongside the sports bar brand in a multiyear partnership. The companies will be introducing free-to-play mobile games and a sports betting test program to various restaurants, according to a Thursday press release.

“Deals like this signal that casinos are considering sports betting as a mainstream product,” said Eilers & Krejcik Gaming analyst Chris Grove.“It’s a product they’ll need mainstream partners in, in order to win.”

The partnership is a first-of-its-kind alignment, according to MGM, and is “focused on capitalizing on future opportunities as states continue to pass sports betting legislation.”

Thirteen states currently have sports betting, but more are expected to come online in the coming months.

“Everybody’s jockeying for position,” said Brendan Bussmann, a partner at casino research firm Global Market Advisors. MGM’s new partnership “gets their brand across a much more global sphere. Whether it’s down the street in your neighborhood in Las Vegas to Lincoln, Nebraska … everyone has a Buffalo Wild Wings.”

This partnership could help MGM reach a broader audience, according to Grove. He said the average sports bettor — usually a younger male — isn’t the typical customer found within a casino. According to the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, 57 percent of visitors in Las Vegas in 2018 were 40 years old or older, and half were female.

“The sports bettor isn’t necessarily a customer that a casino like MGM or Caesars has been focused on,” Grove said. These partnerships “allow casinos to expand beyond their core demographic.”

Free-to-play games

The companies introduced a free-to-play football game in Buffalo Wild Wings restaurants nationwide on Thursday, as pro football season kicked off. The mobile game — available on the Buffalo Wind Wings Blazin’ Rewards app — features a sports betting-like experience that offers players the chance to win prizes such as trips to Las Vegas.

Bussmann said the free-to-play game can help customers new to sports betting adjust to the game, potentially earning MGM an audience in certain states before sports betting even launches.

Later this year, the companies will test a sports betting program in New Jersey, with sights set on expanding the program across the country as more states legalize sports betting. The program will offer enhanced odds and free bets when the BetMGM app is used inside a Buffalo Wild Wings restaurant.

Additionally, Buffalo Wild Wings will begin showing custom sportsbook content on its TVs that feature live odds from BetMGM, and at least three Buffalo Wild Wings sports bars are expected to open in MGM properties or in partnership with BetMGM as more states come online. One of the new sports bars is slated to open in Mandalay Bay next year.

“Adding access to MGM’s world-class properties and the BetMGM mobile app will create unique customer experiences and redefine how fans enjoy sports,” said MGM CEO Jim Murren in the statement.

According to Grove, players can expect more partnerships like this in the near future as sports betting continues to expand.

“I would expect this to be the year you see an incredible flurry of these kinds of announcements. This is just the tip of the iceberg,” he said. “We’ll find out in a few years how valuable some of these partnerships are.”

This story has been updated to reflect the current number of states allowing legalized sports betting.

Contact Bailey Schulz at bschulz@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0233. Follow @bailey_schulz on Twitter.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Business Videos
North Las Vegas company prepares for Mars - VIDEO
Robert Bigelow and his Bigelow Aerospace manufacturing facility played host to eight NASA astronauts and 60 engineers this week getting to know the company’s B330 autonomous, expandable space station. (Elizabeth Brumley/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas developer talks about a new apartment complex called “the yoU”
Frank Marretti lll, founder of G2 Capital Development, talks about his new apartment complex called “the yoU” near UNLV. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Steel cables will hoist roof at Allegiant Stadium - VIDEO
Stainless steel cables are being put into place at Allegiant Stadium to begin the process of putting the roof on the 65,000-seat stadium in Las Vegas. Stadium Chief Operating Officer Don Webb explains how the cables will be used to get the roof put on the future home of the Raiders and UNLV football. (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
The last remaining Sigma Derby game in Las Vegas
Derek Stevens, owner of the D Las Vegas, talks about the last remaining Sigma Derby horse racing game in Las Vegas inside his casino floor. (Erik Verduzco/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Popeyes Spicy Chicken Sandwich Review
Janine Blake of Las Vegas gives her review of the new Popeyes Spicy Chicken Sandwich at the restaurant’s location on west Bonanza Road on Thursday, Aug. 22, 2019,
SuperZoo 2019 takes over Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas
SuperZoo 2019 show for pet retailers brought pet products of all description to the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
MSG Sphere at The Venetian to cost $1.2B plus
Scheduled to open in 2021, it is expected to be busier than Madison Square Garden in New York. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Favorite products from SuperZoo 2019
Some of the fun and interesting pet products on display at the SuperZoo in Las Vegas at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center. (L.E. Baskow/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
MAGIC Convention Day 3
The fashion trade show MAGIC, held Monday through Wednesday at the Las Vegas Convention Center. (Elizabeth Brumley/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
MAGIC Las Vegas - Day One
The biannual MAGIC convention show opened Monday at the Las Vegas Convention Center. (Elizabeth Brumley/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Allegiant celebrates naming deal with tailgate party
Allegiant Air employees celebrate with a tailgate party after the company’s naming deal with the Raiders for the new Las Vegas stadium.
Nevada's sportsbook operators welcome competition
Sportsbook operators from near and far are looking to get into in the established Nevada market, experts say. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Get a first look of MSG Sphere construction in Las Vegas
Representatives of The Madison Square Garden Company give the first glimpse of progress Tuesday of the under-construction MSG Sphere — a first-of-its-kind performance venue with high-tech audio and visual capabilities.
There's a new place to play board games in Las Vegas
Matt Smiciklas, co-owner of Boarding School Games, talks about the new Las Vegas business that he co-owns with Emily Labejof. Dedicated tabletop gamers can choose from more than 500 games to play for free in-store. The doors open to the public Saturday, July 20, 2019. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Renovations at the STRAT
Analysts say the $140 million renovation project at The STRAT, formerly the known as the Stratosphere, could help the hotel-casino compete with the evolving north side of the Las Vegas Strip. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
SLS Las Vegas will become Sahara Las Vegas
Owner Alex Meruelo announced during a special event at the SLS Las Vegas that the hotel-casino will become Sahara Las Vegas in its next iteration. Meruelo said $150 million dollars will be spent to renovate the current property. (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Aircraft hinge maker moves to "business friendly" Nevada
Doug Silva, president of Aircraft Hinge, Inc. in Las Vegas, makes every type of hinge for every type of airplane. Silva talks about his company and why he moved it to Nevada. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Daytime fireworks mark the opening of Encore Boston Harbor
The opening of the $2.6 billion Encore Boston Harbor in Everett, Mass. included a three-minute fireworks show launched by Fireworks by Grucci Sunday, June 23, 2019. (Rick Velotta/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @RickVelotta
Elaine Wynn talks about the opening of Encore Boston Harbor
Elaine Wynn, co-founder and largest shareholder of Wynn Resorts, talked during opening festivities of the $2.6 billion Encore Boston Harbor in Everett, Mass. Sunday, June 23, 2019. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
People line hours ahead of opening for Encore Boston Harbor
Guests arrive as much as 17 hours early for the 10 a.m. opening of the $2.6 billion, 671-room resort in Everett, Mass. Sunday, June 23, 2019. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @reviewjournal.com
Allegiant Discusses Investments In Golf Course Software And Game Rooms - Video
Allegiant Discusses Investments In Golf Course Software And Game Rooms.
Crews working 24/7 to complete Circa downtown - VIDEO
Owner Derek Stevens goal is to open the doors to the 1.25 million-square-foot project by December 2020. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
THE LATEST
New Jersey casinos woo bettors with new sportsbooks

Now in its second year of allowing sports betting, the state has seen sports wagering surpass expectations, and Atlantic City casinos are upping their game with new sportsbooks.