On Thursday, BetMGM announced the launch of NHL-branded online casino games, which will be available to American players on BetMGM's mobile betting app in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Michigan, in addition to Canadian players located in Ontario.
The games available include roulette, blackjack, baccarat, and a live money wheel game — and if you think the idea of combining baccarat with the NHL is slightly confusing, rest assured that it has nothing to do with supporting Brad Marchand.
"The launch of these one-of-a-kind games further strengthens our relationship with the NHL," said Oliver Bartlett, BetMGM’s Director of Gaming.
The three-dimensional animations will deliver an "immersive experience" by "taking players onto the ice and directly into BetMGM’s live dealer version of the same game."
NHL Roulette will feature realistic ball movements. NHL Blackjack will place the virtual player at a table inside an arena skybox with the ability to move virtually between seats.
Slightly less creatively, Dream Catcher (the money wheel game) will allow players to bet on the number in which they think the wheel will stop, with suspense (hopefully) being generated through various multipliers.
"We’re excited to broaden our relationship with BetMGM through the development of NHL-branded casino games," said Jason Jazayeri, NHL Vice President, Business Development. "Particularly when these new platforms [will] allow us to deepen the connection NHL fans have to our sport in a more immersive and compelling way."
New ground for NHL
The NHL is relatively new to partnering with operators for regulated gambling, including legal sports betting. It was only earlier this year, in April, that the NHL announced a pair of multiyear partnership deals that made FanDuel and BetMGM the first-ever North American sports betting partners of the professional hockey league.
As an Official Sports Betting Partner of the NHL, BetMGM will build off its success in the U.S. by furthering efforts across custom content, media, and email marketing programs in Canada.
"Canada’s new sport betting landscape presents a tremendous opportunity to further fan engagement," said Kevin Wachtel, the NHL’s Chief Business Officer & EVP. "We're thrilled to expand our partnerships with both of these leaders as we begin our transformative entry into this space in Canada and engage our avid Canadian fan base."
Terms of those deals include rights for the operators to use official NHL branding and category designations in a variety of ways. Both FanDuel and BetMGM will receive custom content across NHL-controlled media channels. They will be integrated into the NHL’s marquee events, including camera-visible signage and on-site activation opportunities.
"Our existing partnership with the NHL accelerated our ability to reach hockey fans and has allowed us to deliver an enhanced hockey wagering product," said Adam Greenblatt, CEO of BetMGM. "We’re excited to further our relationship with the NHL, including incorporating some of its all-time greats from Wayne Gretzky to Connor McDavid into our brand marketing."
Troublingly for some Canadian Boomers, this likely means that the operators’ marketing campaigns will be in full force for viewers across the TSN and Sportsnet platforms. Gretzky took heat from Canadian fans when he began appearing in a series of ads for BetMGM’s burgeoning NHL partnership.
No word on when Connor is set to make his BetMGM advertisement debut, although here's hoping his acting has improved since last year’s Rogers campaign.