Sports bars are popular locations during the NCAA men’s basketball March Madness tournament — even in the COVID-19 era.
And in New Jersey and five other states, Buffalo Wild Wings is providing the most direct connection between rooting on a favorite team at a sports bar and betting on it to boot.
Ramping up a partnership with MGM that originated in 2019 and debuted in 2020, the national restaurant chain has a “Wings & Wagers” campaign designed to encourage patrons to choose the BetMGM app over nearly two dozen other NJ mobile sports betting competitors.
Residents of Colorado, Indiana, Iowa, Tennessee, and West Virginia also can visit BWW sites and receive the online offers.
In New Jersey, there are BWW restaurants in Secaucus, Wayne, Parsippany, Rockaway, Watchung, Linden, Woodbridge, North Brunswick, Toms River, Brick, Eatontown, Marlboro, West Windsor, and Moorestown.
“Fans wagering on sports inside Buffalo Wild Wings can now win bigger on select bets thanks to our innovative partnership with BetMGM,” said Rita Patel, BWW’s chief marketing officer. “As sports betting continues to grow throughout the country, we look forward to further expanding our footprint in the space and activating our partnership with BetMGM in ways that make the experience at our sports bars second to none.”
BWW, BetMGM are tracking you
Buffalo Wild Wings has also launched an in-bar channel called “OT Odds Powered by BetMGM.” The network airs on select screens in the restaurants and delivers sports betting content such as live game odds and betting advice. In states where mobile sports betting is legal, curated boosts, bets, and parlays, in the form of a new and exclusive “Blazin’ Bets” offer within the BetMGM app, are now available through a customer’s personal device.
Buffalo Wild Wings’ “Picks and Props” free-to-play game, available via the BWW mobile app in any location, has received a design upgrade, including updated “parlay-style gameplay with new BetMGM elements.” Picks can be made daily using BetMGM odds from any state where free-to-play games are permitted by law, with prizes awarded monthly. Select winners will be inducted into the newly created BWW Hall of Fame.
More than 500,000 users have tried the free-to-play games, according to a BWW spokesperson. The deal with MGM is said to be “exclusive” and for multiple years. The plan is for “co-marketing initiatives” that include joint efforts across all digital and social media platforms — so if you have either the BetMGM or BWW apps, you’ll notice plenty of enticements to sign up with the other one.
We kicked the tires on the promotion
The NCAA, presumably for pandemic-related reasons, bumped the fourth and final day of March Madness Week One from Sunday to Monday.
At least at the North Jersey BWW location we visited on Monday, this did not lead to a slew of “sick day” call-ins to catch the end of the first round. The lunchtime crowd over the course of an hour never exceeded single digits (it didn’t help that the state’s only Madness qualifier, Rutgers, had lost a heartbreaker the night before).
The main noticeable tie-in between BWW and MGM was a two-sided small flier at each table that touted a deposit match of up to $500 on BetMGM that lasts through the end of 2021, as well as a $20 e-gift card for BWW food purchases upon signup delivered to the signee’s email inbox.
“You could win big right from your table,” promises the front side of the flier.
There also is news of those “Blazin’ Bets,” said to provide access to “better odds and exclusive bets.”
Over and under and picks and props
NJ Online Gambling colleague Chris Altruda made a visit to an Indianapolis BWW last week, and he reported on some specific offers.
One was a chance to bet over 234.5 total points in a Dallas-Portland NBA game on Sunday, with a $100 bet returning $255.50. As it happens, Dallas won a 132-92 blowout, so that would not have won, rendering the modest odds boost moot.
The “real” over-under in the game was 227.5 at a standard -110 in either direction, meaning bet $110 to win $100. That, too, would have lost, but barely.
A “picks and props” option can be played at any BWW location for a chance to earn points toward free food and swag. In New Jersey and the other five states, the geolocation feature allows for visitors to bet real money on the same games.
As with the BetMGM website, parlays are strongly encouraged — unsurprising, given the double-digit profit percentages that New Jersey sportsbooks rack up every month, more than double what they net on traditional wagers.
There is an option to scan a bar code or go to bww.bet and use a promo code — but it seems this product is “self-service,” as none of three BWW employees at the location NJ Online Gambling visited knew how to assist a struggling customer who logged in to the BetMGM site but did not find the promotional bets.
Many BWW patrons in New Jersey already have multiple sports betting apps on their smartphones, so it’s not clear if the BetMGM enticements will lure them to add yet another app. But it does remind all visitors — including many who like sports but usually don’t gamble — that the option is, literally, on the table.