Casino News: NHL Expansion, Vegas September Casino Revenues, MGM Grand Sale

Casino News - MGM Grand Sale

This week’s casino news starts us off with a story about the NHL’s newest franchises getting involved with gambling. We include the Las Vegas casino revenues for September 2019, along with an update on the impending sale of the MGM Grand by MGM Resorts.

The NHL expansion franchise for Seattle is on the verge of signing a deal with the Muckleshoot Casino in Washington state. Seattle Hockey Partners -- comprised of TPG Capital's David Bonderman, Hollywood producer Jerry Bruckheimer (Flashdance, Top Gun, Black Hawk Down, Pirates of the Caribbean), and Tod Leiweke (ex-Seattle Seahawks CEO) -- owns the expansion franchise. The team has no name at the moment, but is expected to announce an official name by the 2019-2020 NHL All-Star Weekend. 

Will the groundbreaking casino partnership pave the way for more casino-hockey relationships down the road?

Expansion NHL Franchise Partners With Tribal Casino In Seattle

The NHL expansion franchise that will be based in Seattle will not take the ice for the first time until the 2021-22 season. However, they’re already making some business deals as the ownership group of the franchise has struck a partnership with a tribal casino in Washington. The Muckleshoot Casino in Auburn, which is located just 40 minutes south of Seattle, will be the official casino of both the team and the KeyArena in Seattle. The casino will have sponsorship throughout the building and will sponsor the team’s power plays on the television broadcasts.

According to the general manager of the casino Conrade Granito, the hope is that the partnership between the two sides will help sway public opinion and eventually lawmakers when it comes to legalized betting in the state of Washington. According to the American Gaming Association, the NHL could generate revenue gains of $216 million annually from legalized sports betting alone. We’re just starting to see how the different sports are benefiting from legalized betting with various partnerships. This could help push the ball forward in terms of what the NHL is doing in terms of gambling.

Nevada Casino Registers Record Highs For September Revenues

So much for the concerns that legalized gambling in other states could take away from Nevada’s action as the state’s casinos were as strong as ever in September. They made a total of $1.06 billion in revenues from gamblers in the month. According to the Nevada Gaming Control Board, that number makes September the most profitable month of all-time for casinos in the state. It’s the fifth time in this calendar year alone that Nevada casinos have generate upwards of a billion dollars in any given month.

According to Michael Lawton, an analyst for the NGCB, the major increase in revenues can be traced back to above-average wins in Baccarat alone. Slot machines remained the most profitable offering for casinos, as per usual, but Baccarat contributed 19.45 percent of revenues compared to just 9.81 percent at this same time a year ago. After an incredible start to the year, it will be very interesting to see if the state’s gaming revenue slows even a little bit over the final quarter of 2019.

MGM Resorts Confirms Plan To Sell MGM Grand Before End Of Year

MGM Resorts International has confirmed its intention to sell its flagship property, the MGM Grand. This comes on the heels of the hotel conglomerate selling off the Bellagio as well.

After selling two of its Las Vegas Strip casino properties earlier this month, the company’s Chief Executive Officer Jim Murren made it clear that the company isn’t done unloading just yet. Murren also noted that MGM Resorts intends on using the profits from their sales to reduce debt and invest in a $10 billion casino in Japan. MGM will also attempt to further its sports betting operations in the United States as well.

The moves are in correlation with the company’s decision to transition to a business model that is “asset-light” and centered around managing and operating businesses.