BetMGM and Carnival Partnership Give New Meaning to Offshore Betting

Posted: June 17, 2022, 9:57 a.m.

Last update on: June 17, 2022, 10:21 a.m.

BetMGM is heading for the high seas. On Friday, joint venture MGM Resorts International and Entain iGaming announced a partnership with cruise line Carnival.

carnival sun
The Carnival Sunshine sails to the Cayman Islands. Friday, Carnival Corp. and BetMGM announced a partnership that will allow Carnival passengers to bet on sports and play online casino games using the BetMGM app in international waters. (Image: Carnival Corporation)

The agreement means that BetMGM sports betting and online casino apps will be available to passengers on US-based Carnival ships in international waters. Cash sports betting will also be available.

The effort will launch in the coming months as a multi-phase deployment.

“We have found an ideal partner in Carnival Corporation, and we look forward to providing our sports betting and iGaming products to its millions of passengers,” 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 is also available in the Canadian province of Ontario. In addition, BetMGM also operates as a licensed horse racing advance betting operator in Florida and Ohio.

BetMGM will replace Ocean Sportsbook

Carnival operates more than 50 cruise ships based in US ports. This includes ships under its own brand, as well as the Holland America and Princess Cruises lines.

“We are very proud to be able to bring the excitement and engagement of sports betting and iGaming to our customers through our partnership with BetMGM,” said Marty Goldman, senior vice president of worldwide casino operations at Carnival. “Our two leading global hospitality organizations will provide a wide range of immersive digital content to complement our exceptional onboard casinos.”

This isn’t Carnival’s first foray into online gaming. Last October, its Princess line launched the Ocean Sportsbook, which operates on a Miomni platform, for its MedallionClass cruises.

Carnival’s Princess line still promotes the Ocean Sportsbook on its website. The online application is part of an iGaming offering that includes bingo, slots, keno, poker and roulette. However, a Carnival spokesperson says 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 be launched on the Holland America and Princess lines. BetMGM will replace Ocean on Princess ships.

We believe there is significant brand equity in partnering with a recognized industry leader and believe this will resonate well with our cruise passengers,” Frizzell said Casino.org.

Just like with Ocean Sportsbook, Carnival passengers using the BetMGM app while on a cruise will not be able to bet on the Miami Heat. Micky Arison owns the NBA franchise and is also the president of Carnival.

Will the cruise market rebound?

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, cruises were a popular vacation choice for many travelers, and the industry has seen steady growth. In 2019, 29.7 million people boarded a cruise, according to the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA). North American passengers made up more than half of 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 past three years, and this demographic, which is also considered as the primary market for sports betting operators, constituted the largest share of luxury cruise passengers.

According to the survey, 10 states account for more than 60% of US cruise passengers. Florida residents made up 17% and California residents 11%. The other states in the top 10 are Texas, New York, Georgia, North Carolina, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Illinois.

The survey also revealed that 49% of cruise passengers said they gambled at the ship’s casino while on a cruise. This is a higher rate than passengers who shopped (48%) on the ship or ate in specialty restaurants (45%).

Fewer than 3 million Americans embarked on a cruise in 2020. However, a CLIA report this year indicated that more than 80% of people who had already taken a cruise planned to go on a cruise as much as they did. before COVID-19 hits.