Savouring Entain At Bay, MGM’s Hornbuckle Posts Ominous Q1


As Big Bill Hornbuckle, CEO and President of MGM Resorts International, looks out of his penthouse office suite at 3600 Las Vegas Boulevard today at the capital of world gambling he can be forgiven a sigh, or smile, of self-satisfaction.

From the Vegas Strip to Macau in the Far East, across boundless verticals, storied real-world casinos and surging digital divisions, the man who heads the MGM leviathan is a master of all he surveys.

In this year’s Q1, ending March 31, MGM China, resuming dividend payments, smashed results with a massive 71 percent increase in revenue, year-on-year, to US$1.06 billion (£847m); while MGM’s Las Vegas revenue increased 3.6 percent to US$2.26 billion (£1.8bn).

Meantime, MGM casino-resort development ventures in Japan and New York City continue apace.

Consolidated group net revenue for the quarter, compared to Q1 2023, was an impressive 13 percent higher at US$4.4 billion (£3.51bn).

“We achieved record consolidated revenues in the first quarter,” affirmed Hornbuckle.

“When we use the words ‘record first quarter’, and if you look at and think about recent reporting, we’re pretty excited and pretty pleased with that.

“It speaks to [the] diversity of our business and our four key pillars, Las Vegas, our regional properties, Macau, and we believe ultimately, our digital business.”

Aggressive

Away from the shining stars of Vegas and Macau, MGM US regional operations–abetted by the recent sale of its Gold Strike Tunica in Mississippi to CNE Gaming Holdings–netted revenue of US$909 million (£726.4m), a marginal dip over Q1 2023.

MGM Resort International’s continuing success–and recent aggressive moves expanding its BetMGM sportsbook into first the UK and now Holland, using the LeoVegas operating platform–has super-charged speculation about the US giant’s designs on crisis-wracked British Omnichannel Entain.

Will MGM attempt to buy-out Entain’s 50 percent share of their joint BetMGM US joint-venture? Or will Hornbuckle revive his US$10 billion (£8bn) 2021 bid for all of Entain outright?

Hornbuckle has enigmatically called the recent temporary appointment of Stella David as Entain’s Interim CEO: “A breath of fresh air”.

But by launching BetMGM in the UK and Holland he has put MGM in direct competition with its own US sportsbook partner.

To return Hornbuckle’s recent assessment on the task facing Entain it is indeed going “to take some time and energy and some investment” for them not to fall prey to circling corporate raiders.

The MGM boss, for his part, dreams of a digital future that explicitly doesn’t figure “partnership” with Entain.

“If you think about the digital side of our other business, meaning the LeoVegas business, it is about the extension of BetMGM’s brand and what it could mean in certain established markets.

“[In] places like South America and LatAm, we see long-term real growth potential there if we can get ourselves established in the proper regulated markets.

“This launch in the Dutch market is an important step in our international expansion, but we have much more in store.”

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