Casino operator MGM Resorts has tapped Nevada’s former governor to assist the company’s pursuit of a Japanese casino license and US sports betting opportunities.
On Tuesday, MGM announced the hiring of former Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval as its new president of global gaming development. Sandoval is to drive the company’s “global expansion efforts, most importantly in Japan, and focus on state public policy efforts around sports gaming while solidifying the Company’s leadership in the growing sports betting market.”
Sandoval’s appointment means MGM president Bill Hornbuckle will now focus on global casino marketing. MGM CEO Jim Murren praised Sandoval’s “in-depth expertise in gaming, public policy and economic development” while celebrating Hornbuckle’s history of “developing and implementing marketing strategies that excite and entertain in ways that translate to revenue enhancement and value creation.”
Sandoval, whose most recent term in office expired Monday, is returning to the private sector for the first time in two decades. He said his new MGM gig represented “the right professional opportunity to best suit my experience as a former legislator, gaming regulator, Attorney General, federal judge and Governor.”
Sandoval has his work cut out in positioning MGM as a frontrunner to win of the coveted three Japanese integrated resort licenses. While MGM has vowed to spend up to $10b building a Japanese gaming venue – preferably in Osaka – that’s since become the bare minimum for getting noticed in what is proving to be a cutthroat competition.
Meanwhile, MGM’s online gambling and sports betting joint venture with UK-listed operator GVC Holdings has rebranded from the bland ‘does what it says on the tin’ moniker of MGM GVC Interactive to the (allegedly) more exciting Roar Digital LLC.
The new Roar entity also announced the appointment of Matt Prevost as its first chief marketing officer. Prevost, who previously served four years as CMO of Coral Interactive, will work out of the JV’s head office in New Jersey. Prevost claimed to be “thrilled to join the team at Roar at this historic time for the US sports betting and gaming sector.”