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Q&A | Scott Butera, president of interactive gaming, MGM Resorts

What impact has the sports betting repeal had on you?
It’s had a major impact in the sense that it’s really spearheaded a lot of our efforts with regard to our entire interactive platform.
With the repeal of sports betting, we’re integrating all of our online activities with our casino gaming, with our social games, with our digital media [and] we’re talking to broadcasters…it’s really changing the way we think customers are going to consume sports content. We’ve developed a platform to take advantage of that and recently formed a joint venture with GVC Holdings, which is the largest online sports betting company in the world, to capture their technology.
In terms of creating an opportunity for sports betting and the related verticals, it really opened the door for that.

How do you see the post-sports betting legalization playing out? What comes next?
I think there will be a state-by-state rollout. Right now we have a number of states that we can operate in – we’re in three of them [Nevada, New Jersey and Mississippi]. We hope over the next four to five years to be in 25-30 [states]. I think each state will be a little different in terms of the number of licenses they will approve, who will be eligible to receive them and what the costs and taxes associated with that will be.

How big are the opportunities for sports rights-holders?
It’s significant. There are research reports out there that say it could be a $5bn to $6bn market and if you incorporate all the other elements it could be bigger.

How big are the opportunities for betting operators?
The opportunities are all the things that we are doing and would want to participate in.

How will sports betting in the US differ from in Europe?
I think it will be more than just betting, it will be a whole customer experience. I think there will be a great deal of technology in terms of how games are viewed and the statistics that are put up alongside it. I think the types of product offerings, the way in which you bet and the number of sports that you bet on will be broader than they currently are in Europe. So there will be some similarities but in terms of customer service, product, and the user interface through technology, it will be next-generation.

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