BIG MOVE: Aria Las Vegas $1 Million BetMGM Poker Championship Becomes Another Major Step for Online Poker Operator

May 19, 2022
BIG MOVE: Aria Las Vegas $1 Million BetMGM Poker Championship Becomes Another Major Step for Online Poker Operator

BetMGM Poker made some news recently with the launch of a major summer live event at the Aria in Las Vegas. The BetMGM Poker Championship offers not just a hefty $1 million guaranteed tournament, but a major focus on the BetMGM online poker product as well.

The $3,500 buy-in championship is set for June 23-26 as part of the Aria Poker Classic, running June 1 – July 17. The tournament now becomes the signature event in the series at the height of the poker frenzy in Las Vegas as part of the World Series of Poker

The event also could be part of a shift for BetMGM, which is part of the partypoker US Network and available in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Michigan. Adding major live cross-promotions with the online poker platform seems natural for Roar Digital, a partnership between MGM Resorts and Entain (owner of the international partypoker brand).

“BetMGM’s omni-channel opportunities set us apart from our competitors across the industry. Through our parent company MGM Resorts, BetMGM Poker has access to premium casinos and poker rooms across the country,” BetMGM director of poker Luke Staudenmaier told USPoker. “We have not yet scratched the surface of what is possible through our relationship with MGM Resorts.”

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Details on the BetMGM plan

Online players will find numerous qualifiers for the Vegas event. The platform is awarding at least 15 tournament packages in each market, which include the tournament buy-in, travel expenses, and a five-night stay at Aria.

The championship is a follow-up to the March Poker Mania online series. That also included the brand’s first live tournament tie-in with the Borgata in Atlantic City.

Winning players can expect plenty of poker, sportsbook watch parties, and more when heading to Vegas. 

“The excitement in Las Vegas during the first-ever BetMGM Poker Championship will be palpable,” Staudenmaier says. “We have a few surprises that we’re still planning but, for now, players can expect a first-class poker experience at the beautiful Aria Resort and Casino, particularly surrounding our main event and final table.”

New broke Tuesday that DraftKings offered $20 billion for partypoker parent company Entain with US operations playing an interesting role.

A shift in direction

As USPoker previously reported, there seems to have been a shift in direction over the last year for BetMGM. The brand is a skin of the partypoker US Network.

However, the BetMGM skin now seems to be gaining the most promotional power from the company. Roar Digital also recently launched BetMGM in the recently regulated Ontario market in Canada.

This skin may offer a more seamless experience and name recognition for players using the company’s sports betting and online casino gaming brands as well.

The partypoker skin so far is only available in New Jersey, while BetMGM is available in all three states. The company also runs the Borgata Poker online brand in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

In recent months, BetMGM/party has phased out just labeling its monthly festivals as Online Series. These schedules have been beefed up with more creative series names and signature events.

As Staudenmaier notes, adding live events offers something unique to the brand. MGM owns and operates properties from Las Vegas and Atlantic City to Massachusetts, Mississippi, and Michigan.

The BetMGM Championship is a nice start to ramping up those opportunities even more.

Even more synergy in the works?

Internationally, partypoker offers some unique live-online hybrid series and is finding success with those festivals. Perhaps that’s something the US operator would consider in the future, especially if the player pools are combined via interstate compacts.

BetMGM’s Darren Elias

“I think this BetMGM/Aria event is great for players and I’m thrilled to see these sorts of events become available for American players,” BetMGM ambassador and four-time World Poker Tour champion Darren Elias says. “We see a lot of this format abroad with players winning seats online for major live events, but there hasn’t been much of it in the US since Black Friday.”

The Vegas event may offer some insight on what to expect. The company is hosting the tournament when Vegas will be buzzing with poker action. Elias hopes it’s a sign of even more to come.

“BetMGM is particularly well-equipped to offer these sorts of events as our online platforms can qualify players to events at any of our MGM properties,” he says. “Whether that be Aria and Bellagio in Las Vegas or Borgata and MGM National Harbor on the East Coast, players can expect to play at some of the premier poker destinations in the country. 

“This recent Borgata event we ran and the upcoming BetMGM Aria event should only be the beginning. I’m expecting to see more integration between the live and online arenas and even larger events in the future.”

* Lead image courtesy MGM Resorts

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