BetMGM Still Trying to Find International Footing With Launch in the Netherlands

While gradually slipping in US market share, BetMGM has continued to seek growth abroad by launching its brand in the Netherlands. Its Dutch product is an integrated casino-sportsbook and marks BetMGM’s second overseas market.

Like its British site, the Dutch BetMGM is operated by LeoVegas Group and uses a different platform from the product Americans are familiar with. In the US, BetMGM is built on software supplied by MGM Resorts International’s venture partner, Entain. However, Entain operates its own brands in Europe. MGM Resorts acquired LeoVegas last year to be able to expand into new markets.

While the site promises Dutch players it will “exceed their expectations,” the launch version of the product includes only a small game library, no progressive jackpots, and only two exclusives. However, the UK site has been expanding its game library, and the Dutch casino will presumably do the same. Also notably absent from the Netherlands is a BetMGM brand ambassador akin to Chris Rock in the UK or Jamie Foxx in the US.

According to Gary Fritz, President of MGM Resorts International Interactive, the Dutch launch is a step towards making the brand a global leader.

We are thrilled to launch BetMGM in the Netherlands and build on BetMGM’s successful expansion into global markets. The Dutch market offers an exciting opportunity and will be an important part of our international expansion efforts and strategy to become a global gaming leader.

Meanwhile, Gustaf Hagman, Group CEO at LeoVegas Group, hinted at further European expansion:

Our launch in the UK was tremendously successful, and we eagerly anticipate bringing the golden Vegas experience to the Netherlands. This launch in the Dutch market is an important step in our international expansion, but we have much more in store.

Second European Market For BetMGM

BetMGM made its international debut with the UK launch in August 2023. The company initially relied on heavy advertisements and promotions to gain traction. The UK is one of the world’s longest-running regulated markets, making it hard to penetrate as a newcomer brand. BetMGM’s strategy has been to lean into its American roots. It has tried to connect the brand with Las Vegas and MGM’s retail properties through exclusive games and promotions.

Using LeoVegas’ platform has allowed BetMGM to join several European progressive jackpot networks that are unavailable in the US. They include networks by studios such as Microgaming, Relax Gaming, and Blueprint. Because they’re shared between operators, these networks often produce jackpots over $10 million. The MGM Millions for European players now stands at £18.9 million ($23.74 million). By contrast, BetMGM’s New Jersey site is poised to set an all-time US record with a jackpot that’s still shy of $5 million.

MGM says the UK launch has been a success, but there have certainly been some hiccups. Players who’ve had a chance to try both have complained that the LeoVegas platform is inferior to the Entain platform BetMGM Casino uses in the US. There have also been technical difficulties. These include an unfortunate crash during the Cheltenham Festival, a major horse racing event that is typically a busy time for betting operators.

The ads featuring Chris Rock also produced regulatory complaints, though these were eventually dismissed. The complaints argued that the comedian’s endorsement might attract those under the legal gambling age.

Netherlands Brings Opportunities and Risks

LeoVegas recently announced that its BetMGM app was the No.1 gambling app for iPhone users. Compared to the US, many UK operators still run on older software and count a greater proportion of desktop users among their clientele.

If BetMGM hopes to achieve similar traction in the Netherlands, it will need a different approach. It won’t be able to rely on an advertising blitz or sports sponsorships, which formed the backbone of the brand’s UK launch.

That’s because the Netherlands is one of several European countries that have banned most forms of gambling advertisements. A complete ban is in effect for TV commercials, radio, and billboards. In addition, a TV sponsorship ban will come into effect on July 1, 2024. A sports sponsorship ban will follow one year later.

However, the Dutch market also offers opportunities. It’s not as mature or as saturated as the UK’s and is still growing. According to the Spring 2024 report by the Netherlands regulator, Kansspelautoriteit, gross gaming revenue for 2023 increased by 28% from 2022. Additionally, the number of gambling accounts was 1.1 million in December 2023, a 13.4% increase from December 2022. Dutch players are also still willing to try new brands. The average user had played on 2.9 sites in late 2023, while one in five players had used more than four. That’s good news for BetMGM, as it means players haven’t yet developed long-term loyalty to particular brands.

About the Author

Chav Vasilev

Chav Vasilev

After years of managing fast-casual restaurants, Chav turned his passion for sports and occasional slot wins into a career as an iGaming writer. Sharing his time between Europe and the US, he has been exposed to betting and gambling for years and has closely followed the growth in the US. Chav is a proponent of playing responsibly and playing only at legal online sites. When not writing, you will find him watching and betting on sports, especially soccer, or trying to land the next big bonus on a slot.
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