And then there were two — two mobile sportsbooks available to bettors physically located in the state of New Jersey that is.
Following a full three weeks after DraftKings Sportsbook became the first NJ operator to bring sports betting to the virtual world, playMGM has gone live with a limited launch of its product. At present, the app is only available for Android powered devices, with iOS and PC users on standby.
MGM Resorts International is the owner of the Borgata in Atlantic City, which opened its temporary land-based sportsbook in June.
One account to rule them all, sort of
Players that have an existing account on their playMGM online casino accounts will be able to use the same account information to log into the sportsbook. There is no need to redo the registration process.
Casino and sports balances are held separately. However, players can easily transfer funds from their casino account to their sports wallet by navigating to the “My Account” tab, and selecting “Wallet Transfer.” This level of integration already places playMGM in a better position than DraftKings, which currently only allows players to use their Daily Fantasy Sports winnings for sports wagers — although this is subject to change.
Sports and formats offered
playMGM supports betting across 11 key markets:
- Pro football, including Canadian football
- College football
- Pro basketball
- Soccer (English Premier, MLS, and others)
- MMA combat sports
Bet variants featured include:
- Straight bets
We didn’t notice any parlays initially, but have been informed that once a bettor adds selections to their bet slips, they can parlay from there.
What about the lines?
Betting lines have been a contentious topic among sports betting fans in New Jersey, largely due to land-based and online books launching with some less than favorable odds.
While it’s going to take us some time to fully dig in and determine whether the playMGM mobile sportsbook offers better lines than DraftKings, our initial conclusion is that yes it does. Here are some early comparisons:
MLB money lines: 8/22/18
- Phillies v. Nationals: DK (+138/-162); playMGM(+143/-158)
- Giants v. Mets: DK (+143/-167); playMGM (+145/-160)
- Padres v. Rockies: DK (+200/-240); playMGM (+215/-235)
This is just a look at a few of tonight’s, but we can assure you that the narrative of playMGM offering significantly better MLB odds holds true for all listed games.
NFL Week 1 point spread & money lines
The value gap between NFL Week 1 point spreads on DraftKings v. playMGM is much closer, although the lines themselves vary quite widely in some instances.
As for the money lines, this is just another instance where playMGM offers superior lines, in many cases. A few examples:
- Chiefs v. Chargers: DK(+150/-186); playMGM(+160/-180)
- Seahawks v. Broncos: DK(+118/-143); playMGM(+125/-145)
- Jaguars v. Giants: DK(-190/+155); playMGM(-170/+150)
There are also instances where DK and playMGM offer much more similar value:
- Texans v. Patriots: DK (+215/-275); playMGM(+225/-285)
- Redskins v. Cardinals: DK(-109/-112); playMGM(-110/-110)
Given these discrepancies, it will be interesting to see if the rollout of a mobile sportsbetting alternative featuring better lines will compel DraftKings to make some of its own player-friendly adjustments.
Strong payment processing rollout
Another area where playMGM clearly excels is in the payment processing department. At launch, the app offers the following depositing vehicles:
- VIP Preferred (ACH/eCheck)
- Online banking transfers
- MasterCard/Visa debit and credit cards
- 7-Eleven PayWithCash
- Cash at the Borgata Casino cage in Atlantic City
Withdrawals are available via cash at the cage, Neteller, and VIP Preferred. The cashier effectively mimics that of playMGM’s online casino offering, with the only notable exclusion being PayPal.
DraftKings, on the other hand, will likely support PayPal deposits and withdrawals. However, at present, the only ways to get money off the site are via physical check and cash at the Resorts Casino AC cage.
The launch of playMGM sports is likely just the beginning, as we expect at least another app or two to hit the market prior to the kickoff of the NFL Season. Even more apps are expected by the end of September, including those by Resorts and Golden Nugget.
playMGM is offering a beacon of hope to bettors that were turned off by the lackluster lines posted by the industry’s early adopters. If friendly lines prove high on player want lists — and we suspect they will — then the competition may be forced to match the overall solid lines offered by playMGM.