Carnival Deal Gives BetMGM Access to Millions of Cruise Ship Passengers

Partnership calls for rolling out BetMGM’s sports betting and iGaming products on more than 50 Carnival Cruise Line, Princess, and Holland America ships. They handled 26.9% of global cruising traffic in 2021.
Carnival Deal Gives BetMGM Access to Millions of Cruise Ship Passengers
By
June 21, 2022

Our two leading global hospitality organizations will provide a wide array of immersive digital content as a complement to our exceptional shipboard casinos.BetMGM announced it has entered a partnership with Carnival Corporation that will expose its sports betting and online gaming products through cruise lines that accounted for more than a quarter of cruises worldwide in 2021.

Under the partnership, BetMGM will provide retail and mobile sports betting and online casino gaming to passengers on more than 50 ships on three ocean-going brands owned by Carnival Corporation:

  • Carnival Cruise Line — based in Miami, currently has a fleet of 23 ships, expanding to 25 in 2023
  • Princess Cruises — fleet of 15 ships, based in Santa Clarita, CA
  • Holland America Line — headquartered in Seattle, has a fleet of 11 ships

The agreement also calls for Carnival Corporation to offer BetMGM-branded digital and cash-based sports betting products on-board Carnival’s US-branded ships in international waters. Digital real-money gaming products will also be offered.

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iGaming to Launch in Phases

BetMGM said it plans to deploy its platform “in phases over the coming months.” It did not indicate if cruise lines would have sports betting or online casinos first, or if they would be introduced simultaneously.

The operator also did not specify what would happen when ships are docked in US ports where sports betting and online gambling are illegal, but it is assumed betting would not be allowed until the ships reach international waters.

“We’re very proud to be able to deliver the excitement and engagement of sports betting and iGaming to our guests through our partnership with BetMGM,” said Marty Goldman, senior vice president for global casino operations at Carnival Corporation. “Our two leading global hospitality organizations will provide a wide array of immersive digital content as a complement to our exceptional shipboard casinos.”

BetMGM CEO Adam Greenblatt said the operator “found an ideal partner in Carnival Corporation and look forward to providing our sports betting and iGaming products to its millions of passengers. This is another great opportunity for us to further expand BetMGM’s footprint.”

Carnival Brands a Global Cruising Giant

There were 13.9 million cruise ship passengers worldwide in 2021, according to the industry website Cruise Market Watch. The industry generated $23.8 billion in 2021 — up 81.8% from the pandemic year of 2020, but down 52.9% from 2019.

Carnival Corporation includes nine brands that collectively handled 5.8 million passengers in 2021 and made $8.8 billion, equating to a 42% market share. But the partnership with BetMGM only applies to three of Carnival’s brands — Carnival Cruise Line, Princess Cruises, and the Holland America Line.

Cruise Market Watch reported that the trio collectively made up 26.9% of global cruising traffic in 2021.

Specifically, the Carnival Cruise Line welcomed 2.5 million passengers in 2021 ($1.8 billion in revenue, 18.2% market share) while Princess had 816k passengers ($2.1 billion, 5.9%) and Holland America had 384k ($1.1 billion, 2.8%).

Where BetMGM Could Capitalize

One negative from the partnership is that three US states — California, Florida, and Texas — have active ports for all three cruise lines, yet none currently have legal sports betting nor online casino gambling.

Still, BetMGM and Carnival Corporation pledged to cooperate on co-marketing and promotional opportunities.

California could offer some interesting opportunities for BetMGM, assuming a ballot initiative supported by BetMGM and other operators passes in California in November. Greenblatt has already gone on record to say the initiative would help the operator bolster its properties in neighboring Nevada. Legal sports betting and online gaming in California could provide cross-marketing opportunities in the cruise ship ports of Los Angeles and San Francisco.

In Maryland, the port of Baltimore is about an hour from MGM National Harbor. New York is also a US popular port, and BetMGM launched there in January.

BetMGM also has market access agreements in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Washington — three states also frequented by ships from all three cruise lines. The operator is on the land-based casino license of the Beau Rivage Resort & Casino in Biloxi, MS.

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