MGM bringing in new IGT sportsbook system, app

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Amid everything going on in the booking world as football season nears, the MGM Resorts race and sportsbook crew are readying themselves for the future beyond 2015.

They are getting their phone application ready for release in November and a new wagering system ready for next summer.

“We’re feverishly working toward giving the state the most advanced wagering technology, with both mobile and over the counter,” said MGM Resorts race and sports vice president Jay Rood.

That advanced technology comes from IGT, who builds software for the most popular slot machines in the world. This is a new avenue for IGT as they jump into a market where only three systems currently run in the state – CBS, Stadium Technologies and Station Casinos. There’s little doubt they’ll be able to make it happen and be a success just like all their popular games at every casino.

With IGT designing the booking system, the plan is to give guests at the hotels the ultimate gambling experience by using their M Life club card everywhere.

“Card members are going to be able to integrate their race and sports play right into points on their card with slot and table games,” said Rood. “With their ‘virtual wallet’ they’ll be able to jump onto any machine in the casino and play any type of game they like, including race and sports, slots, poker, keno and table games.”

Rood and Hub director Jeff Stoneback have been working long hours to get this system tested and ready for action, but the first part of the process they’re eager to get finished is the mobile wagering where their brand will have a huge edge in the market.

“Visitors from out of state might be surprised with the notion of being able to make phone wagers while not being a resident of Nevada. As long as they make the wager from within Nevada state lines, it’s legal and allowed no matter where their residence,” said Rood.

With 10 sportsbooks on the Strip at some of the most popular destinations in Las Vegas, the account wagering at MGM Resorts figures to be a huge operation, and when allowed eventually across state lines, the Lion will be bigger than any other wagering brand.

Rood and Stoneback are already thinking of ways to capitalize on the popularity of the brand, which includes the opening of the new MGM-AEG Arena next year.

“I’d like to have some people handing out cards with our phone wagering information as guests enter any of our three arenas and then have a kiosk right near where they can sign up and deposit money into their account. Part of our system will include in-progress wagering, which will include many of the events that are happening on site, so it will definitely enhance the guest wagering experience. We just need to get the word out as best possible.”

The Monte Carlo sportsbook could have some special things in place for 2016 with the opening of the Arena, but Rood calls it “a work in progress.” He did say Mandalay Bay will get a “facelift.” When I sounded disappointed saying the Mandalay Bay layout was my favorite in the city, he clarified by saying they would just be getting just new HD TV’s on the wall.

Rood was also excited about all the new changes at the Mirage property where his office is, one year after his book got a complete remodel with one of the best viewing experiences in the state.

“We’ve got a new cage, a new poker room and we’re putting the old center bar back in. We’re also looking at putting in stadium type seating in the sportsbook, kind of like we had during March Madness,” Rood said.

Despite saying last year he was finished with posting college football season win totals, Rood couldn’t resist posting them again this season and opened Ohio State at 11.5 wins, UNDER -120. The next big task ahead of Rood and his team is finding a way to get that daily fantasy dollar that is sweeping the states.

“We’re going to try and do more daily fantasy type stuff this season. We can’t call it ‘fantasy,’ but we can put a scoring system in place and take advantage of this era we’re in where so many are comfortable with that type of gambling. I want to get more people engaged in alternative ways of betting besides just the side and total of games.”

Because of a 20-cent baseball line, the MGM books’ summer hasn’t been as tough as others around town as they’ve held about 5.5 percent and had only one really tough day, which Rood jokingly blamed on Stoneback.

However, they have some major concerns in the postseason as they lose over seven figures if the Astros win the World Series, which they opened at 100-1.

We’ll keep you updated when the MGM phones open for wagering, but while waiting, if looking for a great place to watch all your games and horse races, you can’t go wrong at any of the MGM books on the Strip.

And if you happen to visit the Mirage, say hello to Jay and Jeff, and even my favorite, Yolanda Acuna, who keeps them in compliance daily.

They’ll be happy to buy you a drink.

Micah Roberts is a former Las Vegas race and sports book director, one of The Linemakers on SportingNews.com , and longtime motorsports columnist and sports analyst at GamingToday. Follow Micah on Twitter @MicahRoberts7 Contact Micah at [email protected].

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