BetMGM, Carnival Partnership Gives New Meaning to Offshore Betting
BetMGM is heading for the open seas. On Friday, the MGM Resorts International and Entain iGaming joint venture announced a partnership with cruise line operator Carnival.
The agreement means the BetMGM sports betting and online casino apps will be available to passengers on Carnival’s US-based ships in international waters. Cash-based sports betting will also be available.
The endeavor will launch in the coming months as a multi-phase rollout.
“We’ve found an ideal partner in Carnival Corporation, and look forward to providing our sports betting and iGaming products to its millions of passengers,” said BetMGM CEO Adam Greenblatt said in a statement. “This is another great opportunity for us to further expand BetMGM’s footprint.”
BetMGM is currently a licensed sports betting operator in 20 states, as well as the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. It’s also available in the Canadian province of Ontario. In addition, BetMGM also operates as a licensed horse racing advance deposit wagering operator in Florida and Ohio.
BetMGM to Replace Ocean Sportsbook
Carnival operates more than 50 cruise ships that are based at US ports. That includes ships under its own brand, as well as the Holland America and Princess Cruises lines.
“We’re very proud to be able to deliver the excitement and engagement of sports betting and iGaming to our guests through our partnership with BetMGM,” said Marty Goldman, the senior vice president for Carnival’s global casino operations. “Our two leading global hospitality organizations will provide a wide array of immersive digital content as a complement to our exceptional shipboard casinos.”
This is not Carnival’s first foray into online gaming. Last October, its Princess line launched the Ocean Sportsbook, which operates off a Miomni platform, for its MedallionClass cruises
Carnival’s Princess line still promotes the Ocean Sportsbook on its website. The online app is part of an iGaming offering that includes bingo, slots, keno, poker, and roulette. However, a Carnival spokesperson tells Casino.org that BetMGM will eventually replace Ocean on Princess cruises.
Senior Vice President and Chief Communications Officer Roger Frizzell said the BetMGM apps will be available first on Carnival cruises. They will then launch on Holland America and Princess lines. BetMGM will replace Ocean on the Princess ships.
We believe that there is significant brand equity in partnering with a recognized industry leader and feel that this will resonate well with our cruise guests,” Frizzell told Casino.org.
Just like with the Ocean Sportsbook, Carnival passengers using the BetMGM app on a cruise will not be able to bet on the Miami Heat. Micky Arison owns the NBA franchise and also serves as the Carnival chairman.
Will the Cruise Market Rebound?
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, cruises were a popular vacation choice for many travelers, and the industry experienced steady growth. In 2019, 29.7 million people set sail on cruises, according to the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA). North American passengers accounted for more than half that total, including about 14 million Americans.
A 2018 JD Power survey for the trade association found that nearly a quarter of Millennials (24%) have traveled on a luxury cruise line in the previous three years, and that demographic group, which is also considered the top market for sports betting operators, made up the highest share of luxury cruise passengers.
According to the survey, 10 states make up for more than 60% of US cruise travelers. Florida residents accounted for 17% and California residents represented 11%. Other states in the top 10 are Texas, New York, Georgia, North Carolina, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Illinois.
The survey also found that 49% of cruise passengers said they gambled at the ship’s casino while on a cruise. That’s a higher rate than passengers who shopped (48%) on the ship or ate at specialty restaurants (45%).
Less than 3 million Americans set sail on a cruise in 2020. However, a CLIA report this year indicated that more than 80% of individuals who previously went on a cruise plan to cruise as much as they did before COVID-19 struck.
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